Math Problems

Impasse?  That may be the understatement of the week.


The week of meetings between Miami-Dade teachers and the district (that is considering filling a budget hole by holding back some or all of their collective raises) were billed as bargaining sessions, but there was no bargaining.  Questioning, finger-pointing, bad blood – but no bargaining.


Not only are the teachers and their district not on the same page, they are not on the same bookshelf.


However this dispute ends, clearly there are no winners.  The view from an observer is – no clear bad guys or good guys, no black and white answers.


Faced with state funding cuts and rising costs, district officials have cut, and cut big.   Have they found fat and waste?  Yes, they have.  Is there more?  Depends on whom you ask and the perspective one has of how a giant, urban, socio-economic issues-plagued school district should be run.   


Then there is a teacher workforce that feels chronically underpaid and disrespected, and has little faith nor trust in the administration.  And that started long before these tough budget times, long before this current administration.


Complicating matters: constant finger-pointing, rampant rumors and misinformation circulated with indignation.


But wait, there’s more: election year political posturing, alliances and talking points.


Think this one is tough to cover?   


Here’s one bit of information that is hard to dispute: Florida’s schools, kindergarten through college, have taken one of the biggest hits in this year’s state budget.  For the first time, counties will bear more of the costs of their respective schools’ funding than will the state.  And the state already spends less per student than most.  A few years ago, South Florida school districts lost the District Cost Differential, the extra compensation from the state education budget for counties where the costs of living are higher.

Then came January, when voters approved a cut in property taxes.

Now comes a down economy, and the sales tax this state relies so heavily upon are not coming in as expected.  Boom, the latest cut.

Add to those, the rise in health care insurance, the FPL hike, gas prices that the district’s transportation network must pay, and so on.

But wait.  There’s more: come November, voters will be asked if they’d like to eliminate property taxes altogether.  What/Who will pay for public schools?  If anyone knows that answer, please email it to me.


3 Responses

  1. Good points though there’s one that went far above even your head; what we are experiencing here in this fourth largest school district in the nation is what hundreds of millions of persons are now going thru on nationwide basis—lack of dollars, lack of interest in the daily work day, taxes at breaking point, Boards vs. Teachers vs. Unions and general upsetment and dissatisfaction with the quality of life, that is the essence of the world’s woes today, it is very clear and simple.

  2. Hi Glenna, I was just reading your “musings” on MiamiDade School District issues, and I do have a question. wasn’t monies from the gambling revenues supposed to go to schools? Isn’t that why a “Little Vegas” was set up here in South Florida? I don’t have a problem with gambling or casinos, they are a great source of entertainment for many people, but when massive numbers are thrown at us by the local politicians and casino owners about how much money is going to be funnelled into schools, why is it now that the schools have no money? The two most important projects that we must maintain are a quality education for the next generation and keeping that generation healthy. If the Casinos are the magic bullet that everyone claims, then we should get more money from it, it’s accepted that rates and costs go up, so let’s go back to the casinos and tell them we want more money (everyone else does it FPL, fuel companies etc). And if that isn’t the right direction to go in then another way has to be found. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you and all your collegues at Local 10 for providing me with great news and weather.

  3. Tahnks for posting

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