Hillsborough County

State representatives, district leaders tour schools, talk security

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Plant High School in South Tampa resembles a fortress with security systems and tall fences to keep away trouble.

Principal Johnny Bush is quick to show off the improvements, but also admits more can be done.

"We have a total of 33 cameras," he said. "We'd like to get more cameras."

The Hillsborough County School District is in need of $7 million in addition to the nearly $10 million already given by the State of Florida, leaders said.

It comes after a new law requires officers at each school in wake of the Parkland school shooting.

The massacre happened almost a year ago, on Feb. 14.

"Funding is a concern. We had to take that $7 million to continue what we're doing out of our general fund," said school board member Dr. Stacy Hahn.

School leaders met with Florida state representatives to talk money Monday.

One area that needs help is mental health.

"We definitely need to do more in the mental health. I think we need more funding, more education, more counselors in the school," said Rep. Jackie Toledo, of District 60.

For now, it appears there are things that will have to wait.

"The legislature appropriated a lot of money for security last year. Over half a billion dollars. That kind of limits what the legislature was able to do with the rest of the education budget," said Rep. Mike Beltran, of District 57.

District leaders tell News Channel 8 they have met the state requirement to have an officer in every school. By May, buzzer systems will be in place at each school, which will help prevent strangers from entering campuses.


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