Florida BOE to Local School Boards: Raise Property Taxes to Pay for Our Charter School Priorities

The roll-out of Tony Bennett’s FLDOE budget included capital outlay for charter schools, but none for public schools. Consider this bit of nuance in Jason Shultz’ Palm Beach Post story which the FLDOE uses to justify their position :

The state’s budget request reflects the Board of Education’s priorities to assist charter schools, said Pam Stewart, chancellor of public schools for the state Department of Education. Stewart also pointed out that individual school districts can levy local individual property taxes of $1.50 for every $1,000 of taxable value to raise money for their local capital needs.

Districts statewide raised about $2 billion from local property taxes for their capital improvements last year and received another $401 million in sales tax revenues that could be used for capital improvements, said Tiffany Cowie, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education.

“Unlike public school districts, charter schools are not taxing authorities and may not levy taxes,” Cowie said.

Last year charter schools tried unsuccessfully to get a state bill (SB 1852) passed to require districts to give charter schools some of that local property tax revenue as well.

Florida’s local school boards have the power to raise tax millage rates. As governor, Jeb Bush used his bully pulpit to pressure the local boards to do just that. It’s suicidal to do so unilaterally and most boards put a referendum on the ballot. Voters almost never vote to raise their own taxes, no matter how small or for whatever reason. Stewart, who is seeking to become superintendent of Manatee schools, understands this Catch-22 dynamic. To essentially blame local boards for not raising taxes to adjust to their charter school priorities is an arrogant leap.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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One Response to Florida BOE to Local School Boards: Raise Property Taxes to Pay for Our Charter School Priorities

  1. Judy says:

    Since our elected officials have no oversight of the curriculum being taught in Charter schools, or audit of how or where the funds are being spent, by law they should not be receiving public funds. Charter schools are the only entities not subject to audits or accountability of public funds. These funds could be supporting anti- American curriculum, religious teachings, they could even be going to anti-American activities domestically or overseas. Since there is no oversight or accountability the possibilities are endless! NO PUBLIC FUNDS FOR PRIVATELY RUN CHARTER SCHOOLS!!!

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