I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How Several Public Schools in Escambia County are Denied Proceeds from Local Option Sales Taxes

At next month's discussion workshop I will be bringing an issue of inequity I feel needs to be addressed:  We only allocate proceeds form the county-wide half-cent sales tax referendum to "some" public schools.

That's right I said it.  There are a handful of public schools in Escambia County that are excluded from receiving any of the proceeds the voter approved measure provides.

But I believe we should be allocating money from this referendum to ALL public schools--just as the voters believed we would.

To complicate things and make matters worse---, the directors/principals of these schools are told "The School Board does not want nor do they allow you to get any of these monies for facilities."

This school board member (granted I'm only one of five) wants to share this resource with all public schools for the benefit of all public school students.

Each year, this 1/2 cent  tax generates between $20-$23 Million for schools.  We utilize the money to build schools and to renovate and construct educational facilities infrastructure  throughout our district.

Yet some public schools, already receiving less than their full share of operational revenues to start with, are denied ANY of this money.

Politicians/Bureaucrats have looked me in the eye and said "We don't have enough to share, we have too many needs in Our schools, and we can't spare them ANY!"

I've heard this rationalization frequently "Those schools get some money that the legislature didn't give us!"  Okay, so that is a valid point but that situation has been remedied and even if it wasn't, two wrongs don not make a right.  Every kindergartner knows that axiom of truth.

Students that attend these schools deserve for their fair share of the tax proceeds to be allocated to their schools.  These  are public school students.  These are public schools. This is what the citizens voted for.

Parents of these students pay tax, pay this 1/2 cent sales tax, yet none of their students' schools receive one thin dime of this revenue to enhance the learning environments of theses schools.

We are going to discuss this at an upcoming workshop because what we are doing is not right.

These are public schools.  Charter schools are public schools and the students that attend charter schools are public school students and should not be the victims of financial deprivation/discrimination.

We can and should allocate the proportional share to ALL public schools---just like the flashy campaign literature promised when we successfully lobbied the electorate to vote for the continuation of this tax.

Let's not turn back the clock like it is 1950---let's not financially leave SOME public school students on the back of the bus.

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