Fla. budget deal would fund security at Jewish day schools

Livi Stanford

House and Senate leaders released their $83 billion budget Friday.

The spending plan, which lawmakers are expected to debate during the final day of an extended legislative session, would allocate $654,491 to fund security at Jewish day schools in Florida after a rash of anti-Semitic threats throughout the country.

There have been bomb threats at 167 Jewish community centers in 38 states since the beginning of the year.

Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay filed HB 3653, which initially would have set aside $1.5 million to enhance security at Jewish day schools. Over the weeks of session, that amount was lowered.

The Florida House of Representatives lowered the funding for security to $254,491.

By contrast, the Senate budget allocated $500,000 for Jewish day schools, at the behest of Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation.

Addressing the Florida House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee in March, Fine said Jewish students are afraid to come to school, with some even dropping out because of the security threats.

There are 55 Jewish day schools in the state of Florida, which serve nearly 10,000 students, according to Fine.

Several parents previously expressed concern to the Hebrew Academy of Tampa Bay about enrolling their children in the school,  worrying they would be targeted because they are Jewish.

 

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School Choice bill that passed in 2017 May 15, 2017 - 4:00 pm

[…] Day School security. Money in the state budget would help fund security upgrades at private Jewish academies. The funding emerged in response to a wave of anti-Semitic threats. SB […]

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