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DeSantis Allocates $10 Million for 'Facility Hardening Needs' at Four HBCUs

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s proposed 2024-2025 budget includes a designated $2.5 million each for four HBCUs for “facility hardening needs,” the Florida Phoenix reported.Edward Waters

The four HBCUs are Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters University, and Florida Memorial University.

Additionally, the budget allocated $10 million for funding and “security and equipment upgrades” for Jewish Day schools in Florida.

In total, the “Focus on Florida’s Future” budget has $550 million for school safety, including $290 million to be allocated by the Office of Safe Schools, $108 million for “mental health allocation,” and $42 million for public school hardening grants.

Yet, DeSantis’ proposed budget comes up short in addressing security needs of HBCUs, said Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat who represents Broward.

“While the Governor appropriately proposes measures to address Jewish student safety, I was struck by the conspicuous absence of protections for Historically Black Colleges and Universities as they face a troubling increase of campus threats,” Jones said. “Our goal must be safety across the board – not just for some communities.”

On Aug. 26 of this year, a white man with a swastika-emblazoned weapon shot and killed three Black people in a racist attack in Jacksonville, near one of the HBCUs, Edward Waters University. In November, Florida lawmakers passed a bill for $45 million in physical security funding for schools and other vulnerable locations.

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