Todd Bowden given approval to negotiate contract with 80/20 funding split

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SARASOTA – The Sarasota county school board voted unanimously to extend a contract to local law enforcement to place SROs in MIDDLE AND high schools for the 2018–2019 school year.

The board gives superintendent Todd Bowden permission to negotiate a contract with an 80–20 funding split with the Sarasota county sheriff’s office.

The decision gives the school board more time to implement their internal police force.

The contract says the School Board will pay 1,064,000.00 for SRO services to the Sheriff’s office.

Caroline Zucker, who seemed very frustrated while calling in to the meeting from her grandson’s graduation, made the motion for Bowden to negotiate the contract because she says she’s ready for a decision to be made.

“We’ve had so many things going back and forth about what the Sheriff says. I don’t know what to believe anymore,” said Zucker.

The proposed contract asks for Sheriff’s to assign one regularly employed deputy sheriff to Suncoast Polytechnical High School, Riverview High School, Emma E. Booker Elementary School, and 5 Sarasota County middle schools.

The contract also asks for two sergeants to oversee those deputies.

“Some of the terms and conditions I’m concerned about too because there were many things that were left out of the new contract that are in the old contract,” said board member Jane Goodwin.

Jane Goodwin who wasn’t at last week’s public meeting, is eager to reach a conclusion because the current contract ends on June 30.

“I’m willing to come anytime of the day or the night. I’m not going out of town anymore so you know whenever you wanna call a meeting or if we need to call a meeting and have the sheriff here or the county commission here.” “we need to get this resolved because we run out of time at the end of the month.”

Todd Bowden is having a hard time getting in the same room with Sheriff Tom Knight to discuss the 2018-2019 School Resource program contract.

As reported last week, Sheriff Knight would like for every meeting between the Sheriff’s office and the school board to be public.

“Again doesn’t matter if we agree with it or not. That’s how he wants to do business. He’s the elected law enforcement officer of the community of the county. I say let’s just get in a room and do it,” said Ziegler.

Bowden is meeting with North Port police to negotiate their contract on June 26th. If Sheriff Knight decides to have a public meeting, the board is looking at scheduling it for June 27th or the 28th.

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Jessika Ward
Jessika Ward is a Sarasota native and an award-winning multimedia journalist. She joined the Suncoast News Network in February of 2018 and is happy to be back in her hometown. Jessika won three Florida Associated Press Awards while a student at Florida A&M University. Prior to coming to SNN, Jessika interned with WWSB ABC7 and worked as a videographer/editor at WTXL ABC27 in Tallahassee. ​​Jessika Ward is a proud rattler and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate. She shares her HBCU experience in "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” a documentary about the history and future of HBCU's that was presented in the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS. Jessika's hobbies include photography, watching independent films, watching sports, and reading a good book.