FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - The Flagler County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon on allowing a parent to pay for police security at Old Kings Elementary School.
Laura Lauria, president of Police Services, Inc., reached out to the school board, offering to pay $11,000 to have an officer at her child's school for the next two months, according to a release from Liz Binkley, administrative assistant to Flagler County School Supt. Janet Valentine.
School board members were surprised at the meeting to Valentine already allowed the officer at the school for the past week.
Lauria contacted school board representatives in order to determine if security could be increased at the elementary schools across the district, Binkley said.
Binkly explained that the donation was never intended to become public knowledge and was only made with the intention of giving back to the community.
Linda Nichols and Jason Campbell have an issue with Lauria's donation. They have two children who also attend the same school.
"If the parent wants to donate, let them donate, but the school district should also try to make sure they have somebody here," Campbell said.
Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14 many parents have been on edge.
"It's the safety of the children that's the first priority, but I do think it falls not only on the parents, but the school district to provide that," Nichols said.
Old Kings Elementary is one of five elementary schools in the Flagler County School District. While middle and high schools have a campus officer, elementary schools do not.
Janet Valentine, Flagler County School Supt. said, "We had officers in all of our schools until about 2005, and then when the economy hit, some things had to go."
Valentine said the school board wanted to bring security officers back to its elementary schools, and Lauria's proposed $11,000 donation will cover two months worth of security at Old Kings Elementary.
"I think the downside you would hear is what about all the other schools," she explained.
She is already looking at a long-term plan for the five Flagler County elementary schools.
"I'm going to be bringing a plan back to the school board in February that includes resources officers and price for those for all our elementary schools," Valentine said. "The Sheriff's Department is working with me right now.
The topic is to be addressed at a February 5 school board meeting.
Parents with kids at other elementary schools in the district say they are happy to hear about any additional security, but want to know why it's taking a parent's money.
"First of all, I don't think a parent should have to come up with $11,000. I think we pay enough taxes in Flagler County that our taxes should cover it," said Danielle Arena, a concerned parent.
First Coast News