Cost of protecting St. Johns County schools increases by $1M as salaries for armed guards rise
Share this

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County School District is boosting its spending on school safety.

A plan presented Tuesday morning to the school board calls for more than $1 million more than last year to go towards protecting schools in the fast-growing district which includes increasing pay for armed guards.

Senior Director for School Services Paul Abbatinozzi said the increases will cost the school district a total of around $4.7 million, but with help from the state, the district is only on the hook for about $1.9 million, or 70%. That’s a district budget increase of more than $668,000 when compared to last year.

All 43 schools in St. Johns County will have an armed guard on campus when the new school year starts this fall. Some high schools will even have two guards when available, Abbatinozzi said.

A plan proposed to the school board calls for:

  • 43 St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office deputies (plus 12 SJCSO leadership positions)

  • 32 Public Service Assistants

  • 3 St. Augustine Police Department officers

“Part of the increase, you’ll see this in our numbers that you looked at, was an increase in the salary cost of law enforcement,” Abbatinozzi said.

The average salary for full-time sheriff’s office employees in schools is going up from about $65,000 last year to $77,000 this year. The average cost of the three SAPD officers is also going up by more than $21,000.

A big change this year also involves Public Service Assistants (PSA), unarmed civilians that help with things like traffic control at schools. The district will now pay for those PSAs instead of the Sheriff’s Office which increases the district’s cost by more than $230,000.

“Those are part-time employees with the sheriff’s department…but we utilize a majority of their time,” Abbatinozzi said.

The plan will put the school district in compliance with laws passed in the wake of the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland and comes as there are renewed school safety concerns around the country following the tragic school shooting in Uvalde.

News4JAX tried to contact the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Augustine Police Department to ask about the salary increases but we did not immediately hear back.

All of the proposals outlined Tuesday will still need approval from the school board.

Share this
You May Also Like

Six months since the murder of Jared Bridegan

Tuesday marks 6 months since the murder of a local father of…

Coast Guard searches for doctor who went missing off Florida coast

NAPLES, Fla. (WFLA) — The U.S. Coast Guard said it is looking…

IRS increases what teachers can deduct for classroom expenses

(The Hill) — As the school year begins, the Internal Revenue Service…

Back to school changes for Duval County schools

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More than 120,000 students head back to school on…

Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19

The White House said she’s been prescribed a course of Paxlovid, the…

DeSantis didn’t defend Trump Mar-a-Lago raid on Hannity

A clip shared on Twitter that appears to show Florida Gov. Ron…

Preschool Teacher Filmed Repeatedly Punching 4-Year-Old in Head – Crime Online

A Florida preschool teacher was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly punching and…

Dodge is discontinuing muscle cars Charger and Challenger

Dodge plans to stop making its Charger and Challenger sedans in 2023,…