Leaky Roofs: Time to Pay the Piper?

hands-982121_1280When the roof leaks, you patch it until you can’t anymore.  When the air conditioning goes out, the kids go home.  This is not really about school choice and who gets the money: charters or regular schools. This time there is no choice.  Since the millage for school maintenance was cut in 2008, districts have been making do.  Eight years later, buildings are in disrepair, and a crisis is looming across the state.   Counties have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in facility maintenance money.  The time has come for a reckoning according to this report.  How can we pay for this?

The Ocala Star Banner reports on facility repair needs from Miami-Dade to Alachua County.  The solution is either to raise millage rates from property taxes or to impose a half cent sales tax to restore the 2008 funding levels for facility repair, buses and new schools.

Twenty-six counties have already raised money mostly through sales taxes.  The other 41 counties have a hard choice to make.  They can go to the voters, but some, like Alachua, already have an option on the ballot to renew a one mill referendum to support instruction, counselors, and technology.

The State of Florida helps to support facilities through PECO funds, but for many years, most of that money has gone to charter schools.  The source of that money, taxes on landline phones, is drying up.  As a result, Governor Scott has agreed to borrow $285 million in PECO bonds.  No doubt the next legislative session will be in turmoil over who gets the money, charters or regular public  schools.

Florida has been funding education on the cheap for many years.  This is what the Citizens for Strong Schools lawsuit is about.  We cannot wait for the courts to do its work.  It is an election year.  Make your views known.

 

Posted in Facilities, Florida.

2 Comments

  1. And that makes it OK to skimp on facilities in Florida? One really bad situation does not excuse one that is heading in that direction. Both systems need money for facilities so our kids have physically safe spaces that are conducive to learning. That includes natural light, comfortable temperatures, adequate equipment and yes roofs that won’t leak or fall in on them. No Excuses!

  2. Washington DC schools have had decades of roofs that are falling down. The roof of many buildings fall into classrooms and on top of people. These schools are maintained by the Federal Government. I am sure they would be very happy with just leaks.

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