DeLand, FL – Despite concerns over where the money will come from, it looks like Volusia County Schools will have armed guards at all elementaries by the start of next school year.
By a 4-1 vote – with only District 2’s Ida Wright dissenting – the Volusia County School Board spproved a plan to hire 44 people to fill that role in an attempt to come into compliance with a Florida law passed in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting earlier this year where 17 people died.
VCS chief operations officer Greg Akin told the board prior to the vote that getting all the armed guards trained and in place by August 13th would be a challenge.
“I know this is very aggressive and this is a tentative timeline,” Akin added. “We would start trying to look at hiring or put in the process and starting as soon as possible.”
Those armed guards – also known as school marshals – will not be sworn law enforcement officers and won’t have arrest power, which VCS offcials admit would cost less than having actual officers in place, as will be the case with the district’s middle and high schools.
Having said that, the school district hopes to fill those newly created openings with ex-police or military because of their experience with weapons.
Some school board members said during the meeting that they hoped other entities – namely, Volusia County and its city governments – would help them find the over $3 million needed to fund these positions, even though state law only requires school districts to come up with the cash.
Because of that, the VCSB also voted last night to give Superintendent Tom Russell and Board Chair Linda Cuthbert the authority to reach out to those governments to get that financial help, including setting up a joint meeting with the Volusia County Council at a future date.