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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Becki Couch explains to Micheal Boylon and the city council why they are wrong on a proportional cut of the tax referendum for charters and other issues

Becki Couch is truly missed on the school board. I hope she considers getting back into the game either on the city council or if Charlotte Joyce doesn't start doing her job back to the school board in three years. 

Via Facebook Mrs. Couch explains why Micheal Boylon and the city council are wrong on wanting charters to get a proportional cut of the tax referendum for charters and other issues. 

She was responding to a letter Councilman Micheal Boylon sent his constituents which you can find here.

Capital Funding
Unfortunately his answer is covering only half the story and lends itself to misinformation and misunderstanding.

The district did not have a problem with deferred maintenance prior to 2009, when the first millage cut was imposed. While he is correct that there has been a recovery of some revenue since 2013 because of increases in property values, the annual funding level remains $15 million less than it was in 2008 when millage was 2.0, not 1.5 as it is now. In inflation adjusted dollars, the annual revenue is about $31 less than in 2008.

Using 2008 funding as a base, the net loss against that funding level is about $300 million, aggregate, unadjusted for inflation. In other words, if we had been funded at 2008 levels through 2019, we would be about $300 million wealthier than we are now.

Additionally, the district has pretty much lost its PECO funding sources. In 2008, the district received $18.4 million in facilities PECO. These dollars are now going primarily to charter schools.

Sharing with charters on a per-student basis --
Operational and facility costs are different.
Operational costs tend to be “per-student” variable costs.
Facilities costs are not “per-student” variable costs.

Facilities costs are highly variable based on the age and condition of the facility. Like older cars, older buildings need more maintenance.

The district facilities plan directs dollars to where the facility needs are. Older schools with more facility problems have a higher ratio of the funds. The point is to fix problems and give every student a quality learning environment. Large new schools with fewer facility condition challenges are getting what they need, but loading them up with dollars on a per-student basis, would leave real needs unfunded throughout the district.

That’s why it doesn’t make sense to share with charters on a “per student” basis.

Under the per-student model suggested by some charter school advocates, nearly brand new privately owned buildings would receive buckets of money for which there is no need. That’s not good, conservative, responsible stewardship of resources. We agree that sharing safety and security dollars using the same formula for district managed schools makes sense, and that is in Dr. Greene’s recommendations. But funneling money to privately owned charter buildings with no demonstrated need is not in student or taxpayer interest.

Here’s an analogy. If you have two drivers in the family, you are probably budgeting for auto repairs. Let’s say Mrs. Boylan is driving a classic 1964 Mustang. She loves it, but it will require a high level of annual maintenance. Mr. Boylan is driving a one-year-old Toyota Camry that looked good on the campaign trail. The Boylan’s do the math and predict that they will spend about $4,000 on car maintenance and repair – about $3,500 for the old Mustang and $500 for the new Camry.
If you divide the budget on a per-driver basis, each family member will get $2,000. So while Mr. Boylan can now add sweet new rims to his ride, Mrs. Boylan will break down on San Jose Blvd. That’s not a good result. But if the money follows the need, everyone has a happy, safe commute.

Regarding the marketing plan –
You’ll just have to trust us. Since these measures have passed in almost every district in Florida, we have some successful models to follow. But sharing more about our plans at this stage would be like the Jaguars sharing their game plan with the coach of the other team. All of our leaders (school board members), have won an election within the last three years. We know what it takes. It would be so much more helpful if business leaders and civic leaders endorsed the effort as they have in other communities where these referendums have occurred.

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