Incoming Senate President: 'I Stand By' The Decision To Keep Funds In The Guardian Program

Sep 17, 2018

Senate President Designate Bill Galvano (R-Brandenton) defends his decision to keep funds in the Guardian Program.
Credit Florida Senate

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano stands by his decision to keep funds in the so-called Guardian program.

This comes after Governor Rick Scott asked the Legislature to move the remaining funds to school districts so they can hire more officers.

Fifty eight million of the $67 million Guardian Program sits unused.

A key part of the Legislature’s response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School, it allows certain employees to receive training and carry guns on school campuses. But many school districts chose to opt out.

That’s why Governor Rick Scott asked the Legislature to move the money. He wanted local officials to use the funds to hire additional officers. But lawmakers rejected that idea. 

“I stand by that decision," says Senate President Designate Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton). "I think it’s the appropriate non-action to take at this time.”

Despite only using a fraction of the total funds, the Florida Board of Education again requested $67 million in the 2019 budget proposal. 

Galvano argues that proves “there is value to the program." 

"And that they’re recognizing that there is a methodology that can be accomplished in providing school safety utilizing, as one of the components, the Guardian Program," Galvano continues." So we’ll have to consider it.”

Galvano says though the program didn’t play out like lawmakers had intended, the Board sees merit in it.

So, he says, he will evaluate it along with the Board’s other proposals during session next March.