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School board to consider placing resource officers at two charter schools

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 4/29/20

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The school board soon will hold a workshop to discuss how to handle two local charter schools and their requests for a student resource officer.

After a new bill failed in …

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School board to consider placing resource officers at two charter schools


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The school board soon will hold a workshop to discuss how to handle two local charter schools and their requests for a student resource officer.

After a new bill failed in the Florida Congress, Clay Charter Academy and St. Johns Classical Academy reached out to the school board’s attorney, Bruce Bickner, to request that school district police officers be used as SROs for the two charter schools. Bickner asked the school board April 28 during their virtual regular workshop meeting to consider the request.

“If they want a police officer, they should contact CCSO,” school board member Janice Kerekes said, touching on that the district isn’t required to assign their police officers to charter schools in the county. “I’m apprehensive about having a workshop to discuss this.”

Kerekes was not alone as she and board member Tina Bullock called it a moot point. Board members Carol Studdard, Mary Bolla and Ashley Gilhousen were in agreement about discussing this further at a workshop and so in two weeks, a workshop will be held to determine how best to answer the two charter schools’ requests.

Bolla said because the item wasn’t up for a full discussion that typically precedes an action taken by the board, she said a workshop to determine if this item should become an action item makes sense.

“This item did not come from me,” Gilhousen said after Kerekes said it did. “Bickner said it was a request from the two charter schools. I do think it is appropriate to have a conversation about it. I’ve expressed my feelings on it – they haven’t changed – but I do think it’s worth a conversation even if you’re opposed to it. Though not run by the district, they are partnered with us and when they ask for direction, they deserve an answer from the board.”

In other business, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into effect a law that would require all sales taxes passed beyond July to include funding for charter schools. After a failed attempt at a special election to pass a sales tax last November, the school board decided it will put a sales tax to cover the cost of more than $300 million in maintenance needs in schools on the general ballot this November.

That resolution has been passed and the wording was ready for the election. But with DeSantis’ recent law, the sales tax resolution needs to be amended to include charter schools. Kerekes wasn’t happy about this, citing that it felt like the board was being forced to retroactively change what she called a law. Bickner said it appears retroactive but in reality, is proactive. The retroactive nature comes into play because now the board must rewrite the resolution to include charter schools.

“After the [July] date, an election must include the prorated amount for charter schools,” Bickner said.