Charles Parker, candidate for Brevard District School Board District 2, said today that the school system should not fund any new projects until there is a Brevard deputy in every school.

"Regional busing should be postponed, centralizing school accounts should be tabled, and a variety of other projects shelved until we fund SRO's across the county," Parker said. "We can make a better deal with Sheriff Ivey than $130,000 per year per deputy."

Parker, who currently heads a choice program at Merritt Island High School, is a supporter of regional busing, but notes it is not a priority over safety.

"Helping kids access our great programs is important," Parker said. "And when the time is right and money is plentiful, it will be wonderful to bring it back. But now is not that time."

Parker said that the current board should have waited on a vote to contract armored cars. "There was some odd rush to get that done. It is frankly a solution seeking a problem. A couple of bad actors stole some money without proper school oversight. Okay, tighten up processes, but you don't need to spend $7.3 million a year in perpituity because of two one-time offenses that cost $2.8 million."

Parker added the school board should work with the state legislature to use money allocated for marshalls to pay for more SRO's. "They're giving Brevard at least $1 million for a marshal program, maybe more. I'm sure we can convince them to let us use our portion for deputies.

"Basically, I support an enhanced professional armed presence on our school campuses, single point entry into our schools and funding for additional mental health services for our students," Parker said. "Our district however needs to have a robust debate as to who else is armed and how they are trained. Armed marshalls and teachers should be the last resort."

Parker said he will be engaging discussions with teachers, parents and community leaders over the coming weeks to get a sense of their opinions.

"I trust Sheriff Ivey and his team on their recommendations and know they are coming from a sincere place," Parker added. "However, we need to listen to competing voices on this to help make the best decisions for our schools.


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