More mental health, campus security funding again a priority for Florida universities
After the Florida Legislature failed to act on similar budget requests for this year, state university officials are once again asking for money to increase staffing levels and beef up resources for campus police forces and student counseling centers at Florida’s 12 public universities.
The public university system’s Board of Governors wants lawmakers to designate an extra $28.5 million for those efforts, $8 million more than the unfulfilled request they’d made for the current 2016-17 budget year.
But rather than asking for all the money at once, as they did for this year, officials plan to ask the Legislature to spread the dollars over two years — giving the universities time to hire more qualified police officers and counselors.
While meeting in Sarasota this week, the Board of Governors emphasized that additional dollars for mental health services and campus security is among their foremost priorities for the 2017-18 budget, which lawmakers will craft next spring.
Data show Florida’s university police forces and campus counseling centers are understaffed, officials have been saying for more than a year now.