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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Councilman Micheal Boylan moves the goal post again while shilling for charters in a letter to constituents.

In the letter below I want you to notice two things, first he adds a new hurdle to the school board, who will finance their campaign for the referendum and whats their plan and a demand for a proportional split of the sales tax referendum for charters which shows both profound ignorance and greed on his part. I included my response to him below his letter. His letter is in bold. 

Thank you for the email regarding your position on the sales tax increase to support DCPS facility improvements and new construction.  Because of the volume of emails regarding this matter I have decided to share with you and others a comprehensive response as to where I am at on all of this so please forgive the length of my response. 

Let me start by saying that I support the development of a secondary, dedicated revenue source to address facility needs as Duval is only one of two counties in the state which doesn’t have such a source. And that determination is despite the fact DCPS has enjoyed year-over-year substantive increases in its capital projects revenue (via the local millage assessment) from $76.1 million in 2012 to $100.2 million in 2018, a 31.6% increase in just seven years.  It should be noted too that the total millage revenue for those seven years was just under $600 million. (More on that later.) 

Second, my decision to vote for deferring the item during the Rules Committee had nothing to do with any particular concerns regarding the plan as presented by DCPS for I am of the belief that, as a duly elected body, they have the singular charge of managing the operations and facilities of the school system and, as such, are accountable directly to the citizens of Jacksonville for their stewardship.  My vote was prompted by my concern as to the potential of the desired successful outcome via a November 2019 election.  For me the questions that needed to be answered are threefold and they are the ones I have forwarded to the Office of the General Counsel to be included with the set of questions that my colleagues have submitted. 

1)  Does DCPS have a comprehensive campaign plan in hand which will effectively motivate a sufficient number of voters to vote in the affirmative so as to assure the positive outcome we all want to see? If so please provide a brief summary of the   campaign messaging and dissemination plan. 

2)         Who is managing the campaign?

3)         What is the projected cost of the campaign and how will it be funded? 

Many of the emails I’ve read objected to the fact that City Council members are raising a number of questions regarding the plan details which is outside of their purview. While I agree with that concern, these are the very same questions I am hearing from constituents in District 6.  As a voter I too have questions that need to be answered, not the least of which is “How is it that we have no less than $20 million allocated each year for facilities improvements and repairs, over $600 million available for land acquisition and construction over the past seven years and yet we find ourselves in such a dire situation?”  It is this question and countless others which the DCPS needs to address and at this point I am not convinced they are in a position to do so. With time and proper planning they can and, I believe, will develop a comprehensive campaign to assure successful passage of the sales tax in 2020. 

Allow me to address one more item. Frankly I am not comfortable with the effort to paint charter schools as the “culprit” in all of this, schools that are free and open to every student in Florida.  The State Legislature already has in place a policy whereby operating dollars follow the student.  I frankly don’t understand why that same policy shouldn’t apply with capital funds as well but then again that will be up to the voters to decide. 

With all that said, I thank you again for your email and your valued input.

Oy vey, this was my responce.

Um that was terrible. Do you  think you are going to change any minds with that? Oy vey come on.

That charter line at the end? Really?? It shows a profound ignorance about what capital dollars are supposed to do. If this was operating money you might have an argument but demanding a proportional split of capital funds is ridiculous.

Say Raines and the Charter School at Mandarin both have a thousand students, but Raines needs to be replaced and the charter school needs a new paint job, how is Raines going to get what it needs if they only get a proportional cut. The answer is they won't but that is the plan isn't it? Then lets just forget about all the PECO funds that charters already get for maintenance that public schools don't and that about half our charters are run by for profit management companies.

Where does the greed of charters and their supporters end? Where is your concern for the vast amount of children who attend traditional public schools?

The school board should answer questions, the school board should seek to get the city's other elected officials involved, furthermore the city council and the public should be vigilant. but at the end of the day, the bottom line is its the school boards duly elected job to run our schools.

Let me ask you this, how many questions have you asked the Civic Council? Have you inquired about their relationships with charters? How about the 11 million owed Chartrand and Baker by the KIPP school or Baker's sale of the land that the Seaside Charter school sits on. But why would you.

We are here because a corrupt and or incompetent city attorney, beholden to a mayor with a preference for charters with several mega donors who share that preference used the most specious of reasons to put the ball in the council's lap and instead of saying no thank you we will support the board you ran with it and as a result have thrown the city into disarray. This was an unnecessary  and a self inflicted wound.

What are you going to do when the mayor says he doesn't need to go to the council to approve the sell of JEA? When he gets his attorney to change the meaning of a statute there or a word here saying he doesn't need approval? Don't think it could happen? Well that's what the school board thought about the current situation when the put the referendum forward.

This is shameful fighting against the referendum demanding more and more questions and constantly moving the goal line and don't think because you have not been as boisterous or or obnoxious as some of your colleagues that you get a pass.

At the end of the day all people will remember is if you supported our schools or didn't and currently you are not and make no mistake you are doing so on behalf of charter schools.

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