Seat belts, air bags, insurance and police, are all expensive things we hope we never need, but we know we must have them, just in case.
Add school security for our children to that.
Manatee County Schools Superintendent Rick Mills and the board worked feverishly and successfully to undo the damage of past superintendents and boards, who at best were incompetent, at worst criminally negligent in their management of district finances. Miraculously, grades are heading up with a balanced budget.
As this school year approached it was late in the process, due to the state, as to exact revenues available. A legal requirement was maintaining a statutory reserve.
The wish list included security for elementary schools. But trained police SROs are very expensive, costing nearly as much as the annual cost of an officer, who will only work 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for 180 days each year. With revenues in doubt at those prices, private guards offered a real alternative.
Do not blame a caring Mills and board. Blame poor attorney recommendations and delayed state allocations and missing responsible laws to handle this. They were doing the best they could given the legal advice and the money to do it.
Rep. Greg Steube has the real solution, a law to make these things unambiguously legal and other options too, done in a way to cost effectively protect our children in a world that grows more dangerous by the day. The media should support that.
David R. Kraner