UPDATED: 6:56 p.m.
It looks like Lee sheriff's deputies will continue to patrol the halls in county schools this year.
As they held the first public hearing on the budget tonight, county commissioners seem willing to continue to pay for most of the $1.5 million or so it costs to keep deputies in middle and high schools. The School Board has budgeted about $670,000 of the cost, leaving a $871,000 bill for the county.
Commissioner Brian Bigelow did question the need for deputies in schools.
"I generally remember officers in my high school," he said. "What's the rest of the country doing?"
Sheriff's Col. Rob Holman said that it's hard to tell what tragedies don't take place in local schools because deputies are there.
"You see these school shootings across the country," he said. "We've been very fortunate here. I can't tell you it's because we were there, but the students and the teachers want us there. We believe it's become a core service."