TALLAHASSEE (FOX 13) - Days after signing off on the new state budget, Gov. Rick Scott fielded questions for the first time about the criticism surrounding new laws aimed at keeping schools safer.
Lawmakers passed legislation requiring districts to place in every school someone who is trained and armed.
"My expectation is everybody is going to comply with the law. This is about our kids and our grandkids. My expectation is everybody will work very hard to keep our schools safe," Scott said following an unrelated news conference.
Superintendents throughout the Bay Area, and now the Pinellas County sheriff, are critical of the plan, which they believe is not being funded properly.
"At the end of the day, somebody's got to fund this," said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. "I don't have the money. I don't have funding authority. I don't have taxing authority. So I can't raise the money, but it's got to come from someplace. And it's not optional because we gotta keep these kids safe. We have to ensure that people are safe and feel safe."
Gualtieri told FOX 13 he'll have to hire 150 new deputies and purchase additional cruisers, uniforms, guns and equipment.
"The first year cost will be about $23 million to put a school resource officer on every Pinellas elementary, middle, high, and charter school campus," he said.
Districts are expected to pick up part of that cost, but during a joint news conference last week, district leaders held a joint calling to express their concern that they'll be left with little extra money to spend in the classrooms.
Gov. Scott said he wants lawmakers to look at $67 million currently earmarked for training school staff. A lot of districts, however, have declined to do so and will instead opt to add school resource officers.
"To extent that [money] is not going to be used, I have asked the legislature if they would be receptive to taking that money and putting it into more law enforcement and my understanding is that they are receptive," Scott said.
It's unclear when lawmakers, who are no longer in session, would have an opportunity to re-examine portions of the budget.