(Hollywood, FL) – Teach Florida applauds Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature for approving funding of $2 million to harden security in at risk nonpublic schools, including Jewish schools, as part of the state’s 2018-19 budget. By signing the budget today, Governor Scott gave his stamp of approval to a threefold increase in security funding from last year’s allocation to insure that nonpublic school children at risk have a safe and secure education.
Teach Florida played a pivotal role in championing this year and last’s security funding through the legislative process. The movement of parents, schools and community leaders also successfully advocated for a new source of funding for Gardiner and tax credit scholarships that will help an additional 8,000 students attend the nonpublic school of their choice. Governor Scott approved that funding last week when he signed the Legislature’s education bill (HB 7055) into law last week.
“We applaud the state of Florida for making security a priority for public and nonpublic school students,” said Dr. Allan Jacob, chair of Teach Florida. “Special acknowledgement goes to the elected officials who championed this cause: Representative Randy Fine, Speaker Richard Corcoran, Representative Manny Diaz, Senate President Joe Negron and Senators Bill Galvano, Wilton Simpson and Lauren Book. Governor Rick Scott’s leadership has been invaluable in making schools at risk of terrorism safe and secure.”
First time ever funding for nonpublic school security was approved at $654,000 in the 2017-18 state budget. The funds are allocated to harden school security including fences, cameras, shatter proof windows, key card entry systems and crisis communication systems.
“With a 57% increase in anti-semitic incidents and the proliferation of gun violence, as we just witnessed in Parkland, this funding will provide much needed upgrades to Jewish and all nonpublic schools at risk,” said Mimi Jankovits, Executive Director of Teach Florida. “We appreciate our state’s pro-active position to address this issue and also for supporting its innovative scholarship programs with strong funding mechanisms, including the newly approved revenue source for tax credit scholarships.”
Teach Florida is a movement of Jewish schools, parents and community advocating for safe, strong and affordable nonpublic schools. It is a member of the Teach Advocacy Network, a nonpartisan organization advocating for equitable funding in nonpublic schools. Since launching in 2016, Teach Florida successfully spearheaded first-time security funding to Florida’s nonpublic schools, including Jewish day schools, and advocated for increases in tax credit scholarships. This school year alone, 2900 Jewish students are attending day schools on $20 million of tax credit and special needs scholarships.
The Teach Advocacy Network is a project of the Orthodox Union and operates in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and California. For more information, visit: www.teachadvocacy.org.