As the president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, we are committed to protecting the rights of our men and women in blue and ensuring that our communities are safe. When Floridians vote in this November’s general election, they should vote NO on Amendment 3—which would risk school security funding and make it harder to keep our classrooms as safe as they ought to be.
The leading proponents of Amendment 3 are running countless ads on TV and social media discussing how this law would purportedly empower voters by giving them the reins for any gambling expansion in the state.
What they don’t want voters to know is that Amendment 3 would jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars in current education funding that goes directly towards the Education Enhancement Trust Fund (EEFT). Additionally, Florida would walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars in future education funding going directly towards the EEFT. That fund has a Safe Schools Allocation and a Mental Health Assistance Allocation. In translation, that money helps keep our kids, teachers and classrooms safe.
This funding also pays for School Resource Officers (SROs) and goes directly towards expanding school-based mental health care in our education system, which helps to minimize violent incidents at schools—many of which stem from a lack of care. Research has shown that almost 60% of the mass shootings that have taken place in our country have been carried out by people with a diagnosed or demonstrable mental disorder.
It should be stated that the Broward County PBA’s opposition to Amendment 3 does not mean that we support gambling. Local communities should be empowered to make those decisions that reflect the desires of their constituents. However, a blanket ban like Amendment 3 that risks hundreds of millions of dollars of funding that goes towards our education system and keeping our students safe, is not worth considering.
We should be doing everything in our power to ensure that our schools have ample resources for more SROs. This last session, the governor signed into law a sweeping bill that, in part, helps to protect our schools from the type of attack we saw at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Here in Broward County, fulfilling the requirement to fund at least one SRO at every school has stretched the county budget thin. Why would we pass an amendment into our state’s Constitution that might make it harder for local governments to properly fund education and keep our schools safe? The fact is that this amendment, written by large corporate interests for their benefit only, would make our schools less safe.
That is why on November 6, we hope that voters will make the right choice and vote NO on Amendment 3—for the safety of our schools and our children.
President, Broward County PBA