Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cooper city seeks to support the School board?

To Mr. & Mrs. Cooper City Taxpayer,

At first glance most of us are favorably inclined to the concept of diverting $100k towards schools for computer. The needs having been described by the head school janitor as urgently needed. Upon further contemplation not as favorably disposed towards the idea for some reasons I will convey to you.

While the idea of better computers sounds good, the proposed gift ignores that school funding is strictly a state & county function, with additional federal funds thrown in.  You will soon receive a notice, the TRIM Notice, AKA, notice of proposed property taxes. Review it closely and you will see that the amount you will probably pay to the school board is greater than your city tax bill for two reasons. The millage is greater and the amount of exemption is less thus a larger bill in most cases for the average homeowner.

There is also the question of the funding of school activities by a municipal government. While it is true in some areas of the country there are municipalities that are responsible for funding of the school system. However, given the structure of the school system in Florida the school board is a county level function will state funding as well as federal funds to the state/local school board. It is noteworthy that the Broward School System is the 2nd largest in the country. Given these facts I find no sound legal or logical basis for municipal funding a requirement or even necessity that city taxes need be appropriated to the public schools.

The growth of charter schools both private and public does give rise to the question of funding and this is particularly true in Pembroke Pines. And we have watched that over the years and I am not sure that we can look to that as answer to enhancing the public school system in a municipality. I would wonder what the reaction is to all of this for parents who fund our public schools but receive not consideration for sending their kids to the non-public funded education systems.

The public schools are funded through direct taxes paid by property owners to the Broward Schools System. It now appears as though the Cooper City Commission has inserted into the budget a gift, that’s right Bertha, a gift of $100,000 to fund obtaining computers. The exact reason is not being made very clear. Is it for additional computers for testing or for day to day usage or for other reasons?

Apparently this gift request was made by the principal of the high school on behalf of the five public schools in Cooper City. No mention of the charter or private schools was included. This is occurring in the same time frame as the efforts of the school board to ramp up support of the $800 million bond issue to be paid by the property owners of Broward. (Sources knowledgeable on this indicate that a substantial portion will be directed to payment of the previous indebtedness of the school board.)

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