Monday, December 24, 2012

Parents Begin Petition Drive for School Referendum Re-Vote

MERRITT ISLAND, Florida - A group of Merritt Island parents are distributing a petition to try and convince Brevard Public Schools to hold a second referendum vote in 2013 to offset potential school closures and budget cuts.
Parent Tina Burton said that a second ballot would cost $760,000.
“We are appealing to the school board to use some of the $19 million in contingency funds and we are trying to fund-raise,” Burton said.  “We are also joining forces with the Brevard Federation of Teachers.”
Burton believes that a second vote would have different results since voters now know exactly what cuts Dr. Brian Binggeli, Superintendent of BPS, has recommended to the school board.
“We think it would have turned out differently if people had known exactly what would be done,” Burton said. “These cuts will make our schools unstable and disintegrating. Businesses will stop coming to Brevard.  It’s all inter-related and people need to understand this.”
Currently the petition, which can be found at www.savebps.webs.com, proposes the levy of a 0.5 cent sales tax, however, Burton said they had considered changing it.
“Our original intent was to offer a continuation of the current 0.25 millage rate plus a 0.25 cent sales tax,” she said. “However, BFT has told us that it would be better just to do the half-cent sales tax again.”
Burton said her group is using a variety of methods to get the word out.
“We have the website and we’re using Facebook. I am also handing out flyers to complete strangers, which is way out of my comfort zone,” Burton said.  “But it’s worth it. I am concerned for our childrens’ futures.”
The website says the following:
Suggested language - Shall the Brevard County School Board levy a one-half cent sales surtax beginning January 1, 2014, for a period of ten (10) years unless property tax assessments return to the 2008-09 level, to fund the implementation, upgrading, retrofitting and equipping of all schools with technology; and to finance educational facilities, construction, reconstruction, remodeling and renovations, land acquisition and improvement for the Brevard County School District? with oversight of these expenditures by an independent citizens financial oversight committee?

Combined these taxes would generate ~ 24 million in revenues to enable our existing schools to be maintained at today's excellent standard. While the added funds would not fill the entirety of the budget deficit estimated by district staff, we feel certain that if the board works with the community and local leaders who have offered support, budget-reduction measures can be identified that would not require schools closures, crowded classrooms, or deep program cuts.

We firmly believe that the failure of the half-cent sales surtax was not a mandate to close schools and slash programs. We respectfully request the opportunity to vote for our community, our schools and our children.

School Board Members - Vote for a 2013 Special Election and, together, we can save our schools!

21 comments:

  1. Thank you for highlighting the petition! It will take all of us working together to change the conversation.

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  2. Blame the Tea Party. This is what they are all about. No increase in taxes, no matter what the cost!

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  3. Blame ourselves first and then place the responsibility on to the several legislatures that represent our county...I believe we as a community need to pay for the ballot or at least half of the ballot measure....

    Marcus

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    1. That is what we intend to do. We are trying to raise money for this, but we need the community's help. We have set up a website asking for donations: http://gogetfunding.com/project/save-our-brevard-public-schools

      Monies collected will be used specifically toward paying the special election, verifying signatures on the petitions, printing costs for petitions, etc.

      We need help!

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  4. If it comes up to a vote, here is one person voting "no".
    No more tax increases, period.

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    1. We understand that the public is sick of taxes. We are also sick of taxes; however, don't our children deserve more? What will become of our nation if we under-educate them? How will we ever compete with other countries? We need to think beyond taxes. Yes, the school board has mismanaged funds; however, we want a clause added to this .50 sales tax to include a public/parent oversight committee to make sure that the funds are being used appropriately. Pinellas county did it successfully, and we can to.

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    2. No to any tax increases? Let us also say no to any increase in Medicare and social security as well then. Many of those "against any taxes" are already living off them.

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  5. Brilliant! Waste money on something that has already been voted upon! The taxpayers of this county REPEATEDLY have said "NO" to various tax increase proposals by the school board during the last decade.

    Instead of spending your time fundraising to try and get taxpayers to pay more, how about you just fundraise for the school you want to save? Come up with an amount that you need to raise to keep the school and get to it. If the community associated with that school agrees on its importance, you'll find the money. Otherwise, suck it up and send your kid to another school. They'll adjust.

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    1. This is about more than the 4 four schools up for potential closure. The cuts proposed are drastic and will impact ALL Brevard schools, lead to overcrowding, and will reduce the quality of education - as acknowledged by the Superintendent. The loss of over 400 jobs and reduced quality of education will hurt our local economy in both the short and long term. The quality of education is closing tied with property values so expect a halt or fall backwards on that front just when real estate sales are picking up.

      Coming up with funds to support one loved school is not a solution to this problem AND Dr. Murray has said in the school board meetings even if a community handed her a check for $4 million dollars she'd still vote to close a school.

      So, you'd say suck it up to South Lake parents who will have to send their child to a new school for a second time in two years? Aren't we suppose to try to give our kids a sense of security? What kind of message do you want to send?

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    2. The .50 sales tax was voted down by approximately 8,000 votes this past November,very true; however, we firmly believe this is because the school board did not advertise the consequences of what would happen to our schools if this tax did not pass. Had they given voters the list of 62 items of budget cuts and revenue generating ideas, I am absolutely sure that it would have passed. The school board and the superintendent did NOT do their jobs adequately, and we deserve another chance to save these four schools, over 500 jobs, and programs for all of our students.

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    3. We would be happy to fundraise for our own schools. However, some members of the school board appear to have another agenda. Also, 3 of the 4 schools being considered for closing are in low income areas. They simply do not have personal funds to fall back on.

      "Suck it up" is a cop out. Do you spend time around children at all? What do you say of the studies that show children who have moved around, especially in elementary schools, perform lower on standardized tests and fall behind in school? I'm trying to figure out if you are worth a conversation with, or if you just have no regard for others.

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  6. You'll get another "NO" from me...Schools are already 3/4 of my tax bill. Too much waste for the Administration and running a cafeteria inside your building? Time to pay the Piper. The Admin. is top heavy and over-paid.

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    1. It is the children of Brevard County who are "paying the Piper".

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  7. Amen. No & No again to increase taxes to pay for unnecessary schools, overpaid administrators, and non-critical curiculum and activiites. The whiners just don't get it - no means no.

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    1. During the July School Board meeting, Dr. Krupp brought up the fact that Brevard County is short changed on property tax unlike other districts. The reason is because the federal government owns quite a bit of property in Brevard County and these are all non-taxed based government property.
      He stated that the Legislature has done us no favors. Governor Scott will tell you that he put another billion dollars back into public education but what he doesn't tell you is that he took two billion out last year (2011)

      These facts require that Brevard County voters take it upon themselves and fund these shortfalls. Fortunately some of us see what needs to be done and we're acting on it!

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  8. Intereswting: As the moion launch was in progress, the school system had a influx of satudents. Then, it went down after Apollo. Then, Space Shuttle came on board - again increase in school demand. Now, the Shuttle is gone, the manpower for the county decreased, families moved away, foreclosures at at the highets in the nation as people move away..., yet, the BPS and PARTISAN people want the schools to reamain and charge the rest of us for it! Exactly what has gotten us into financial problem - spending and taxing more! Enough!

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  9. It's ALWAYS a good ploy to say "it's for the children" huh? You want to get my vote publish the pay rates of the school administrators and tell me that what they get paid is justified? When you tie yourself into the self interest of a Teacher's Union YOU have lost credibility too!! I will vote NO and my extended family and friends will vote NO again!!

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  10. You lost before and you will lose again, it's already certain and guaranteed. NO MORE TAX INCEASES IN BREVARD!!! I for one will be contacting the board to oppose any ballot measure.

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  11. close the schools, close the schools, close the schools, close the schools

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  12. This is SAD for Brevard. I grew up in this community and have witnessed the Snowbirds ruin it so they can come back year after year and buy it back cheaper. Filthy Northerners and their trash....And yes our Education sucks as half of the kids are now sucking up the welfare system... WELCOME TO MIAMI!!!

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  13. .005 cent sales tax for brevard county. The ones that will notice it will be the kids that won't be shuffled, keep their educational programs like art and gifted , teachers that are an integral part of their lives, and friends that won't be sent to another school. How about we suck it up we as adults we are the ones who have created this situation, and making are our children pay for it. How about we pay it forward for at least the ones that have no voice and are further and further away from the America we have all had the privledge to enjoy

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