If the voters vote yes in 2019, the repairs can begin in 2020

Posted by SusaninFlorida

Mr. Chartrand said on First Coast Connect August 19 that he favors the sales tax increase. As City Council Member Jackson pointed out in the joint city council/school board meeting, there isn't enough money for everything everyone wants. My guess is she was talking about more than just the “gap in funding” that Dr. Green mentioned in her reply to the city council’s questions.

The * is for emphasize and are mine. The quotes are from Dr. Greene's reply to the city council's questions: "With the oldest schools in the State of Florida, the day-to-day maintenance needs of our schools cost approximately $500,000 per month. ... We estimate that [if the voters approve the referendum in 2019] ... the District will have a *cost avoidance* of $314 million of deferred maintenance, utility, and support costs. ... The distribution of funds to each Board District was based on the identified FCI deferred maintenance cost, security enhancements, new construction, modernization and renovation costs for each Board Member District. ... The District is committed to removing closed, unused schools to prevent neighborhood blight. ... As sales-tax funded capital projects are completed, we anticipate that other capital funds would be available that normally fund the existing maintenance backlog to eliminate any *gap in funding.*"

School Board Member Charlotte Joyce said in the joint city council/school board meeting she wanted more money to build schools for potential new developments in her district. If I correctly understand, the half penny sales tax is only enough to pay for security enhancements (which magnet, neighborhood, and charter schools will get at $5 per square foot) and repairs of old neighborhood school buildings. The sales tax funding from the half penny increase isn’t enough to pay for new schools needed due to growth, if I correctly understand. The money for new schools (as it stands now) is going to be coming from our property taxes. Matt Carlucci floated the idea of impact fees which developers would pay for the new schools needed due to growth. But that’s a conversation for another time. The urgency now is to repair the old school buildings and enhance security.

If I correctly understood Mr. Chartrand when he was on First Coast Connect, he said the profits from the sale of the KIPP building and land will be given to the school district. I have asked the city council to please fact check that statement. I have not yet received a reply. Is the school district on the title? Is there documentation within the nonprofit's filing with the state?

Do you think this is intentionally worded to be misleading? Note it says “district school property.” But the buildings are owned by private investors not the school district. The * is for emphasize and are mine. The quotes are from a Florida Department of Education website: "When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, any *unencumbered public funds* from the charter school revert to the district school board; all *district school board property* and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased with public funds automatically revert to full ownership by the district school board subject to complete satisfaction of any lawful liens or encumbrances."

Quote is from this website: http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/charter-schools/charter-school-faqs.stml

Article at this link talks about a great speech by Republican Thomas Lee where he says the charter school industry said they could teach kids for less, but they keep asking for more and more money. He said “enough is enough.”

http://accountabaloney.com/index.php/2019/05/06/hb7123-is-a-bridge-too-far-and-president-lee

New schools recently got money that old schools didn't get. It sounds silly to say but that seems to be what Mr. Chartrand (the guest on First Coast Connect August 19) is missing. What we want to do with this sales tax increase is renovate old school buildings up to the level of recently built schools. Mr. Chartrand seems to want recently built charter schools to get part of the sales tax money for perks for charter schools. Or perhaps he doesn’t want the neighborhood schools repaired. Perhaps he wants to leave gaps for new charter schools to fill. If the voters don’t want to fund the repair of the neighborhood schools, they can vote no. But the city council shouldn’t prevent us from being able to vote on the school board’s referendum.

Quote from a paper entitled Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance and Accountability-Public Education Capital Outlay:

"Florida’s primary source of funding for the capital needs of public schools, community colleges, and universities is the Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) fund."

The Charter School Industry received 100% of PECO funding in the last legislative session. Please tell the city council to let the people vote on the school board's referendum in 2019 so the repairs to our neighborhood schools can begin in 2020.

Thanks,

Susan Aertker

References:

The quotes from Dr. Greene are from the reply whose link is included in this news article:

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190731/school-board-answers-city-councils-laundry-list-of-referendum-questions

The comment I heard Council Member Jackson say is around the 1 hour mark in this video:

http://jaxcityc.granicus.com/player/clip/941?view_id=1

2 comments on this story | Add your comment
Please log in or register to add your comment
SusaninFlorida

A friend pointed out to me: "The Master Plan does have allocation for two new k-8 schools. One on the gate parkway to 9A side and one to address the growth in Board Member Joyce’s district." But I wonder if the cost of those schools is part of the "gap" so that the sales tax money is not being spent on new schools.

Quote from Dr. Greene's reply to the city council's questions:

As sales-tax funded capital projects are completed, we anticipate that other capital funds would be available that normally fund the existing maintenance backlog to eliminate any gap in funding.

end quote

I did say "if I correctly understood." quote from above submission:

If I correctly understand, the half penny sales tax is only enough to pay for security enhancements (which magnet, neighborhood, and charter schools will get at $5 per square foot) and repairs of old neighborhood school buildings. The sales tax funding from the half penny increase isn’t enough to pay for new schools needed due to growth, if I correctly understand. Monday, August 19|Report this

SusaninFlorida

I ask the question around minute 28: What will happen to the profits if the building and land, that house a charter school, should be sold?

Does Chartrand answer my question by saying the building and land, which he has invested in, will never be sold? That's a bit absurd, yes?

And Miller answers that there should be clawback provisions. How is the ownership of the building, where KIPP is housed, structured? Will it be given to the school district if the charter school is closed? If she thinks clawback provisions are appropriate, then the building and land should already have guarantees that the school district will get the building and land. Wasn't the majority of the land and building financed by either state, federal or local tax money? Isn't the $11 million being repaid to Chartand and Baker with taxpayer dollars?

Link to radio episode:

https://news.wjct.org/post/81919-democrats-call-investigation-mayors-office-jax-civic-council-cole-pepper Monday, August 19|Report this