Jacksonville, FL — As Clay County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis has wrapped up his final Listen and Learn Community Meetings on safety and security in schools, he's sharing his biggest takeaways and lessons learned with WOKV.
"The biggest thing that I've learned, is that the community wants to be involved," shares Davis. He says even though this was the last of the official Listen and Learn Community Meetings, he has plans for continued engagement.
He also says he was surprised to see so much support for the 'Guardian Program'-- which includes allowing school personnel to carry concealed weapons.
At this time, he says the Clay County School Board does not wish to pursue the 'Guardian Program', but does want to put school resource officers in every school. However, coming up with the funding is the big question.
"But I will be submitting new options to the board, sometime in the next 48 to 24 hours, for them to review additional platforms that are more in line with what we can do financially, but at the same time meets the statue required in Senate bill 726 and then allows to have additional individuals on site to protect our kids," says Davis.
Specifically, Davis says the ideas he's submitting will be a hybrid of the Guardian Program.
"One of the recommendations will be to put resource officers in every one of our secondary schools and at the same time transition to creating and hiring an internal force employees in the sense that they will be called school safety officers, and then give them the necessary equipment and training they need, which would be similar to the umbrella of the Guardian Program to better protect our schools," explains Davis.
Davis also talked about the need to 'harden' Clay County Schools, which is likely a costly endeavor, as their schools have an average age of 47-years.
Davis says, "It would take us around $12 million to harden our structure for immediate use for our campuses, nonetheless, taking proactive steps to make sure we have proper fencing, proper surveillance...."
He says in order to expand all of these initiatives additional revenue streams are needed. One option is adding a millage increase, aka a tax increase, in the county, which would likely be around $100 per household.