Q&A – Money Spent In South Florida Schools On Online Learning

Today’s entry: Thank you for being a voice of reason and accountability regarding our schools. I’ve reviewed my property tax bill as you’ve suggested and realized I pay a lot more for schools than I knew! I’ve been telling my neighbors to check it out too. A question came up when talking about this with a neighbor. How much more is being spent on the distance learning boondoggle? Thanks, and keep up the good fight!

Bottom Line: I have no intention of letting up with the focus on transparency and increased accountability for South Florida’s school districts. I’ve also heard from multiple officials in the education establishment that the districts are concerned about the size of the backlash they’ve recently experienced. It’s great that you’ve engaged your neighbors, be sure to focus some of your energy towards your school board member and your school district specifically. Here are the estimated costs per district just for distance learning equipment/capability, piecing together disclosures in expenditures by each school district:

  • Broward: Inconclusive
  • Miami-Dade: $30 million or about $87 per student
  • Palm Beach County: $32 million or $181 per student

While Broward’s spending on distance learning isn’t clear, it appears as though it’s the least of the three districts and could total a number under $10 million. In other words, it appears as though Broward was the most efficient on a relative and absolute basis with Palm Beach County easily being the least efficient. It’s also notable that Broward didn’t suffer extensive issues with students and teachers accessing the platform the way the other two districts did. There’s been a clear performance distinction based on cost, implementation, and execution of these platforms with Broward performing best and Palm Beach County worst. Aside from the sheer cost and efficiency of operating distance learning, is the premise of what we’ve already paid for that hasn’t been presented.

As you look at your property tax bill and see the increase in spending for schools remember that in Broward you’re paying 2.4% more for schools than you did last year, in Miami-Dade, it’s 7.5% and in Palm Beach County it’s a stunning 11% more. Not only are those remarkably high increases, all substantially higher than inflation, and what student enrollment increases would dictate. In 2019, classroom education started the week of August 11th in South Florida. We will have paid huge increases, which would be unjustified during normal times but especially when you consider that classroom education that’s paid for won’t occur in any South Florida public schools for a minimum of five weeks beyond the norm. If you’re not providing the classroom education paid for with our tax dollars, refund us. In any other aspect of our lives, if we paid for products or services that weren’t received, it'd be considered fraud. This is no different.

South Floridians are being defrauded out of classroom education options for children that we’re paying for but not being offered. That message needs to be heard loud and clear at these school districts and in local elections for these positions. The size of these outrageous spending increases needs to be known and understood. Accountability is needed, and again, because of the allegiance of our local news media, it won’t come from them. It must come from us.

Submit your questions using one of these methods.

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

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Photo by: Getty Images

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