Q&A – Broward & Palm Beach County School Districts

Today’s entry -Hi Brian I am a 45-year resident of Palm Beach County and there has never been such a blatant abuse of a tax authority, (public schools). An unprecedented tax increase 4 years ago and then a SALES TAX two years ago. When will this stop? Our schools have all been rebuilt and our teachers are compensated above the national average for school districts this size. Short of moving out of the county, how can this abuse be stopped?

Bottom Line:This comes on back of the news that Palm Beach County’s School District rejected the recommendation from the Stoneman Douglas Commission to engage the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office to train and provide additional school security officers instead of opting to go with Boynton Beach-based Invictus, paying $78,000 to the company for training that turned out to be bogus. The school district has since exited its contract with Invictus and is now attempting to recoup money already paid. The question remains why this decision was made in the first place. This is the latest in a long line of questionable decisions by the school district that’s involved taxpayer money and potentially put schools and students at greater risk unnecessarily. The most questionable of all was the effort to withhold funds from charter schools in the district and even spend taxpayer money to attempt to prevent the district from paying for security for public charter schools it’s responsible for. There’s long been an animus towards the charter schools by the Palm Beach County School District and were it not for the legal system we’d still not see the school district providing the resources needed to protect the charter schools under state law. The March ruling against the school district included this statement from the judge: “Clearly and unambiguously requires school boards and superintendents --- not charter school operators --- to ‘establish or assign’ Safe-School Officers.”Clear and unambiguous, yet not to the school district that fought against it with your tax money. 

Then there’s the case of the Broward School District which remains the only district in the state that’s still in non-compliance of the school safety law. In the wake of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas in Broward having brought about the law in the first place – you'd expect they’d be a leader in executing the school safety standards but alas. Your question is what can you do aside from moving to make a difference...I have three ideas. 

  1. Vote
  2. Inform others 
  3. Running for office

All of those can help make a difference. Regarding informing others. Right now, with the recently released property tax assessments, is an ideal time to have this conversation with others. Have them look at the money they’re paying directly to the school district and ask them if they’re happy with their money being wasted in the ways we’ve discussed. If the school districts put as much energy into responsible stewardship as they do into the marketing campaigns for tax increases, we’d all be better served. 

Submit your questions using one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

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