"I recently met a very powerful statewide education leader at a conference in Washington DC, and while discussing my latest frustration with the FSBA, their lawsuit attempting to kill the tax-credit scholarship that benefits 1,000 primarily poor and minority students in Escambia County, this leader simply, wryly, said “Why do you keep funding them, then?” He makes a great point. Why do we? IFCAA, my legislative proposal, fixes this problem. IFCAA is a mechanism that allows each individual board member to allocate (or not expend at all) his/her individual portion of a taxpayer funded board, committee, council, and/or commission’s advocacy budget."
IFCAA stands for the Individual Freedom of Choice in Advocacy Act--A method for disrupting "Iron Triangles."
IFCAA (Individual Freedom of Choice in Advocacy Act) is a proposal I have developed and given to Escambia’s legislative delegation, members of the Florida House and Senate, and to other conservative school board members around the state.
As school board members we are duly elected, individual constitutional officers-just like County Sheriffs, elected Superintendents of Schools, Supervisors of Elections, Tax Collectors, Property appraisers, etc.
Unlike the individual officeholders mentioned above, however, our individual choice in advocacy for our constituents is handcuffed by a system that stifles individual officeholders’ choice.
What do I mean?
If the statewide “Sheriff’s” advocacy organization suddenly started advocating for ideals contrary to what an individual Florida County Sheriff believed—that individual Sheriff could (and would) rightly withhold the dues from said organization, or choose to fund a different law enforcement advocacy organization that more accurately represented the ideology of this sheriff and his constituents.
Same for Superintendent’s, Supervisors of Elections, Property Appraiser’s, Tax Collectors, and the list goes on...
Every office in the state that has an officer or board also has a professional advocacy “association.” These “organizations” receive massive taxpayer subsidies from state and local officeholders.
As school board members, we send taxpayer funding for advocacy to the Florida School Boards Association (FSBA).
While the FSBA has done many beneficial things in the past, recently they’ve made some choices and decisions that have alienated conservative members; something must change.
The distinction between individually elected office-holders and members of elected boards is that the advocacy organizations that purport to represent us as bodies or units sometimes neither represent many of us individually nor do they represent the collective values of our individual constituencies.
Worse--sometimes these very organizations actively work against what many of us want, yet we’ve no choice individually but to fund them.
This isn’t $30 to NRA or $50 to AARP —For the Escambia’s Board, FSBA’s price tag is more than $20,000.00 yearly!
While discussing my significant disagreement with FSBA’s lawsuit (attempting to kill the tax-credit scholarship that benefits 70,000 primarily poor and minority students statewide), a powerful, statewide education leader simply, wryly, stated “Why do you keep funding them, then?”
Why do we keep funding them?
FSBA didn’t represent my views when they supported the class size mandates that blew up the budget-destroying our ability to significantly raise teacher pay.
FSBA didn’t represent my views when they sought to block necessary tenure reform in Florida, yet I had no choice but to fund them.
FSBA has ignored every conservative idea I have submitted for six years running for their statewide
platform—and yet I had no choice but to fund them.
Truly fiscal conservative school board members are a rare species in Florida. Therefore, even if we vote “no” to fund our “advocacy” organizations yearly, a majority vote will still pass, ensuring 100% of the money still goes to our “advocates.”
The only way to fix this problem is to change Florida statutes to allow all constitutional officers, including individual board members, the ability to allocate their portion (or withhold their portion) of the annual taxpayer-funded advocacy budget—individually.
This will force these “advocates” to listen to and respect the opinions of the minority dissenters, lest they lose their funding. It will make organizations compete. It will force associations to seek consensus, rather than status quo maintenance.
IFCAA facilitates this- allowing each individual constitutional officer to allocate (or to not expend) his/her individual portion of a taxpayer funded board’s yearly advocacy budget, assuring those constituencies holding minority views the chance to be fairly and accurately represented.