District: $7 million too costly for deputies - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

District: $7 million too costly for deputies

The Palm Beach County School District says it can't afford to pay the Sheriff’s Office 7 million dollars for additional deputies.

However, it leaves the district scrambling, facing a new state mandate after the Parkland shooting that requires it to have at least one deputy at every school.

The district was asking the Sheriff’s Office to have its deputies work overtime to staff about 50 schools.

“It's cost prohibitive at this point so we’re looking at other options to cover our schools,” said Mike Burke, the CFO for the district.  

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said the overtime idea is a no-go. Bradshaw said that his staff is already worked to the bone, and that the only way he could help out the district is to hire the number of deputies needed and 7 million dollars is what it would cost.

“Our commitments are tremendous out here on a daily basis and we just don’t have the availability to do it on a time-and-a-half basis."

He says his deputies are already worked to the bone, taking on responsibilities like protecting the President and events like concerts.

Bradshaw said hiring those additional deputies is the only option and 7 million dollars for one year is what it would cost.

“For us to be able to give them the 50, get them where they need to be, we have to hire those people equip them and then we’ll supply them for a year and then we told them what the cost is,” said Bradshaw.

“This is not any exorbitant price tag this is a price tag that's pretty common,” said Andrew Scott, a former police chief himself.

He says it is costly to put an officer on the street, and he thinks when it comes to school safety the district needs to find the funds.

“I think the school board really has to pay attention to the incredible waste within a government entity, such as the school board... allocate that waste in the dollars back to protection of our children,” said Scott.

Now, the district is looking into other options until it can build up it’s own police department.

“To do it internally to the largest extent possible, and then we have a tentative agreement with 11 of the cities across the county to help us on a temporary basis if we pick up the cost of the overtime,” said Burke.

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