Please write the city council and tell them to let the people vote on the school boards' referendum in 2019

Posted by SusaninFlorida

--------- Forwarded message ---------

Subject: Please let the school board put the referendum on the November 2019 ballot

To: Danford, Joyce , Ferraro, Albert , Bowman, Aaron , Wilson, Scott , Gaffney, Reginald , Pittman, JuCoby , Dennis, Garrett , Freeman, Terrance , Becton, Daniel , White, Randy , Hazouri, Thomas , Newby, Samuel , , Boylan, Michael , , , , , Carlucci, Matthew ,

Dear City Council Members,

The questions have all been answered. The school board has agreed to pay for the cost of the election in 2019 They have detailed where the money will be spent. The school board approved the plan. A citizens advisory board will be involved in setting the priorities.

I understand some of the opposition is that charter schools want more of the sales tax money. They already get federal, state, and local tax money as well as philanthropic dollars. They don't need the sales tax money for their privately owned buildings. ref 1

Quote from a WSJ article:

Critics say charter schools are in danger of cutting costly deals with developers who are more concerned with investment return than educating children. The result can lead to failed schools.

ref 2

I understand that some people send their kids to charter schools and love them. Some of the money is being spent on safety and other enhancements and will be spent on a per-student formula so the charter schools will get their share of that based on current enrollment. There is a caveat for charters: if the charter school closes, then they must return the purchased asset to the school district. That's fair, eh?

I fear new legislation will be passed by the state legislature in their next session to make it harder for monies to reach the neighborhood schools. Here is an article about HB 7123 that passed last legislative session: https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2019/05/04/florida-legislature-passes-tax-bill-requiring-future-referendum-funds-to-be-shared-with-charters/

HB 5 (passed last state legislative session) included language which says that any county's ballot initiative to increase the sales tax (after January 1, 2020) can ONLY be on the November ballot of even numbered years. The rule wasn't in effect in 2016. That's why Curry could get his ballot initiative for a sales tax increase passed in August of 2016 but this referendum can't be put on any of the primary ballots after January 1, 2020.

Congratulations to newcomers and returning champions alike. Now take up Duval County Public Schools’ proposed November referendum. Do it, and do it as soon as possible. That's a quote from this link: http://folioweekly.com/stories/referendum-now,21588

Please encourage the leadership on the city council to put the school board's referendum on the agenda for the July 23rd city council meeting. Let the people vote in 2019. The repairs need to begin soon. Delaying the vote until 2020 would mean the dedicated revenue stream can't begin until 2021.Please do the right thing and vote on July 23rd to put the school board's referendum on a 2019 ballot.

The Jacksonville Branch NAACP expects the half-cent sales tax proposal to be made an immediate priority by the new City Council so that the citizens of Jacksonville are given the opportunity to vote on this issue. ref 3

Even Mayor Curry's wife sees the urgency. First Lady Molly Curry said she spends a lot of time in local classrooms and said she’s witnessed some of the issues teachers and students face. "...I’m in favor of supporting and helping these schools ...” ref 4

Superintendent Vitti saw the need for these repairs BUT he took no action to get the funding. Those factors combined have left the school district looking for ways to generate more money for repairs, replacements and upgrades that Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said are much-needed. ref 5

The TU editorial board recommends the city council allow the school board to put the referendum on the November 2019 ballot. ref 6

The advantage of a vote in 2019 is that the repairs can begin sooner. I think everyone agrees that some of the repairs are urgently needed. A UNF poll said that most people in Jacksonville will vote yes on the referendum. Unless you know of rich people that plan to form a super pac and disseminate false narratives, the school board's referendum should pass in 2019. Please let the people vote.

ref 1 https://dianeravitch.net/2018/09/23/the-business-of-charter-schools-real-estate/

ref 2 https://www.wsj.com/articles/charter-school-movement-growsfor-real-estate-investors-1444750383

ref 3 https://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/20190629/guest-column-let-people-vote-on-proposed-half-cent-sales-tax

ref 4 https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/jacksonville-mayor-first-lady-talk-second-term-goals-lot-j-development-fixing-local-schools/962129625

ref 5 https://www.news4jax.com/education/superintendent-duval-county-needs-1-billion-for-schools

ref 6 https://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/20190623/sundays-editorial-november-referendum-is-justifed-for-school-facilities

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