U.S. Rep. Bilirakis files bill to bring security money to large school districts

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis asks the Pasco County School Board for ideas to improve school safety during a Feb. 20, 2018, workshop. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | TImes]
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis asks the Pasco County School Board for ideas to improve school safety during a Feb. 20, 2018, workshop. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | TImes]
Published July 26 2018

Shortly after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis visited Pasco County school district leaders to get their thoughts on campus security.

Board members asked for funding to place more resource officers in the schools. Bilirakis called the idea a "no brainer" and said he'd try to make it happen.

On Thursday, his office announced Bilirakis had filed new legislation to allocate $225 million for school districts of 65,000 students or more to add resource officers. The student enrollment figure is significant because it could help funnel money to many of Florida's districts that are among the largest in the nation, including the two — Pinellas and Pasco — that Bilirakis represents.

Earlier in the spring, Bilirakis also encouraged the U.S. Attorney General's Office to channel Community Oriented Policing Services funds to large districts that needed to add officers. Districts recently were able to apply for that grant.

Bilirakis faces a potentially significant challenge in his reelection bid, for the first time in years. Some big Democratic groups have placed his district on the list of ones to watch, despite his family having held the seat for decades.

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