Tampa Bay Reporter
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis has filed a bill to create a funding stream to pay for school resource officers.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, has filed a bill to provide funding for school resource officers.
Bilirakis said he filed the bill last week in light of the recent violence which has occurred on school campuses around the country, and the need to keep students safe.
The so-called PROTECT KIDS Act, which is an acronym for the Promoting Resource Officers Together for Exceptionally Critical Targets with Key Investments in Districts and Schools Act of 2018, authorizes an appropriation of $225 million for the hiring of SROs. It would also create a five-year Department of Justice matching grant program that would prioritize funding for the nation’s largest school districts (those with 65,000 students or more). Districts can apply for up to $10 million in funding for the hiring of SROs, with a maximum of $20,000 allocated to each school.
“After the Parkland tragedy, I reached out to local superintendents, school board members and sheriffs in my district asking how the federal government can support them in their mission to keep kids safe in school. They told me that the single most important factor in improving safety is the hiring of well-trained school resource officers,” Bilirakis said.
“Sadly, the school districts in the 12th Congressional District and throughout the state of Florida do not have sufficient resources to provide a certified school resource officer on every campus. Many of these districts are among the largest school systems in the country. While we successfully increased federal grant funding in our last budget bill for the purpose of hiring school resource officers, I knew more support was needed. The PROTECT KIDS Act will help assure parents that their children have a safe and secure learning environment.”
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.