By Bryan Boggiano
The City of Coral Springs is still awaiting reimbursement from Broward County Public Schools for school resource officers, despite having them in place for the 2022/2023 academic year. The issue was discussed at an April 26 commission retreat, where officials confirmed non-payment for these officers.
On April 11, the Broward County School Board agreed to reimburse cities $103,000 annually per school resource officer for three years, up from the previous $61,200. However, Coral Springs has yet to receive any reimbursement, even though each city school has at least one officer from the Coral Springs Police Department, and high schools have two.
Police Chief Brad McKeone informed the city commission that the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association (BCCPA) began discussing the 2022/2023 school resource officer agreement with then-Superintendent Vicki Cartwright last July. She promised a contract after passing the Secure the Next Generation referendum in August, which aimed to increase funding for school safety and other initiatives.
The referendum passed, instituting a half-mil increase for teacher recruitment and retention, essential services such as mental health, and enhanced school resource officers and safety staff. However, contract negotiations with the school board did not resume until January.
Calculating reimbursements with the previous $61,200 figure, Coral Springs would be owed approximately $1.1 million through March 2023. Using the increased $103,000 figure, the owed amount rises to $2.1 million, and for the entire school year, it reaches $2.3 million. This only covers the salaries of the 20 school resource officers and excludes dedicated supervisors, benefits, equipment, operational costs, and Secure the Next Generation referendum revenue.
According to McKeone, the referendum would result in $12 million in additional Coral Springs funding for the school district, with the current school safety allocation at just above $2,040,000.
The city has requested information on school resource officers and safety enhancements but has received no specific details. Despite the lack of reimbursement, Coral Springs’ financial operations remain unaffected due to factoring in school resource officer funding and not anticipating reimbursement until later in the fiscal year, according to Director of Communications and Marketing Lynne Martzall.
However, Martzall warned that the current model might not be sustainable without reimbursement for the current school year or increased future payments. Even with the $2.3 million reimbursement, there remains a $1.5 million annual difference between the district’s payment and the city’s program costs. With the referendum and the $103,000 reimbursement, the district would owe around $3.5 million, while the city’s total costs, including benefits and operational expenses, would be just under $5.1 million.
Martzall emphasized that the city ideally wants full reimbursement for the officers and supervisors protecting public schools.
“Ideally, we want the city to be fully reimbursed for the officers and supervisors in place to protect our city’s public schools,” Martzall said.
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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