MERRITT ISLAND, Florida - A group of parents says it is working with the local teachers union to propose a 2013 ballot initiative that will extend a current property tax and add a scaled-back sales tax to offset proposed school budget cuts, according to one of the parents involved.
Previously, the group has said that a vote would cost Brevard taxpayers $760,000.
Christine McClure of “Save Brevard Public Schools” told Brevard Times that the ballot measure will be different, and possibly, confusing.
“Our ‘Save BPS’ committee is working with the Brevard Federation of Teachers to promote our petition to ask the School Board to support a special election in November,” she said. “We are requesting that they allow us to move forward with the continuation of the 0.25 mil tax that will expire June 30, 2013 plus a 0.25 cent sales tax.
“These two parts will have to be put up individually on the ballot, but we are hoping that we can educate the public enough so that they realize we need both to pass because the 0.25 mil tax will go toward operating costs while the 0.25 cent sales tax will go toward capital outlay.”
McClure added that she feels Brevard Public Schools failed in educating the public about the need for more revenue.
“We firmly believe that the Brevard Public School Board did not do their job in publicizing the referendum that failed in November and that they are not adequately listening to the wishes of the community, so we feel it is necessary to vocalize our frustration,” she said.
The group has issued a mission statement so that the public knows their agenda.
Save Brevard Public School's goal is to foster and organize county-wide advocacy to achieve the following:
1. Demand the School Board work with the community and city and county officials to identify budget cuts with minimal impacts on classrooms, students, and communities.
2. Advocate for a balanced budget, establishment of a school's public oversight committee, and voter education through a 2013 special election and future elections;
3. Promote the election of board members who are receptive to community input and have a student-centered approach.
4. Coordinate with PTOs and other groups to represent public school advocates' voice to our state legislature to create awareness and change in Tallahassee and to educate Brevard voters on the position of state officials.
McClure is asking that supporters go to http://savebps.webs.com to sign the petition.
“Since this petition is unofficial because the School Board must put the referendums on the ballot, we are asking that Brevard County voters help us by signing our online petition,” she said. “We currently have 641 signatures on our online petition, and we also have signatures on paper petitions, which puts us at almost 1000 signatures total.”
Brevard Public Schools and Brevard Federation of Teachers officials were unavailable for comment.
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