Marion County wants security in all schools; Tax suggested to cover costs

Updated:

Loading
MARION COUNTY, Fla. —

In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, the Marion County School District may beef up security at every school in the county, but the district needs taxpayers to give up more to cover the cost.

District officials are suggesting a wide range of new security measures, including bulletproof doors and windows and pepper spray for some of the teachers.

Parents parked outside Osceola Middle School on Monday said the extra security measures are a must.

"It's our children. You can't put a price tag on that," said parent Angela Wood.

Wood and other parents said they would support a bump in the local sales tax to pay for tighter security in all Marion County schools.

"Well, who is to say it won't happen here like it did in Connecticut," said parent Katrina Gunsby.

School board member Nancy Stacy suggested a half-cent tax to raise $16 million a year, which would allow the hiring of cops to patrol every campus.

"And there's no doubt that the best deterrent for anything that can happen on campus would be an armed officer or deputy," said school spokesman Kevin Christian.

Right now, officers cover the county's 18 middle and high schools. Officials said it could cost another $900,000 a year to put them in all of the elementary schools.

Costs would run much higher if more surveillance cameras and security fences are added.

Officials are now finding out how much the cost would be for each additional layer of security.

"An idiot with a gun like that is going to get in anywhere," said Wood. "But if you put more barriers between him and our children, there's a better chance of him being stopped."

It could take a special election to put a tax to the voters this year, and that could cost a few hundred thousand dollars, officials said.