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Flagler School District Is Glowingly Re-Accredited, a Timely Validation Ahead of Levy Push

| March 13, 2013

There was reason for applause today as George Griffin of AdvancEd, standing with the microphone, told the Flagler County School Board of its renewed accreditation. (© FlaglerLive)

There was reason for applause today as George Griffin of AdvancEd, standing with the microphone, told the Flagler County School Board of its renewed accreditation. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County School Board often celebrates itself, spotlighting achievements in the district or hearing other local voices applaud its works. But it doesn’t often get independent validation for the core of its mission, least of all from leading national judges of education quality.

On Wednesday, the school board got just such validation, along with a few reminders that on several crucial matters—the disproportionate disciplining, suspending and expelling of minorities and the alarming gap between minorities in low-achievement columns and others—it had a distance to go.

AdvancED is a worldwide accreditation agency under the umbrella of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It announced to the board that the accreditation the district secured almost 10 years ago will be renewed for another five years. Because it’s a renewal the announcement may sound like it’s not as big a deal. But it is, and a two-thirds-full board chamber showed why: district-wide accreditation is laborious, requiring of a district to prove that it is meeting innumerable criteria of academic achievement, strategies (such as technological learning and innovations), teaching techniques, involvement by the community and proper governance. This district met and exceeded all five criteria.

In Florida, 43 of 67 districts are accredited, as is Florida Virtual School and a couple of charter school groups. There are four levels of accreditation, three of them being below par (down to accreditation with a warning, and accreditation on probation). Flagler ranked at full accreditation. About a quarter of all evaluated organizations fall below full accreditation status.

“I’m very proud to be superintendent of Flagler County schools right now,” Janet Valentine said at the end of the meeting, eliciting the last of several loud rounds of applause and not a few standing ovations—one of which went to Diane Dyer, a central office administrator and accreditation manager. She had coordinated the team of nearly a dozen teachers and other professionals across the district to prepare for the accreditation.

'I’m very proud to be superintendent of Flagler County schools right now,' Janet Valentine said. She is flanked by board members  Andy Dance and Sue Dickinson. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

‘I’m very proud to be superintendent of Flagler County schools right now,’ Janet Valentine said. She is flanked by board members Andy Dance and Sue Dickinson. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The announcement, by AdvancED’s George Griffin, who chaired the accreditation team’s visit to Flagler, was the culmination of a process that started more than a year ago as the district prepared to be evaluated. The process ended this week with a three-day visit by a team of a half-dozen professional educators—teachers, principals, university professors, administrators. They visited six schools, formally observed 33 randomly chosen classrooms, interviewed 88 teachers, 44 administrators, 62 students and 43 parents and four board members.

Their detailed report will be made public in 45 days. Today they produced a 17-page PowerPoint presentation summing up and explaining their findings. Griffin, an education professor at William peace University in Raleigh, N.C., repeatedly spoke in glowing terms of the district’s achievements, especially highlighting an attitude of willful innovation and risk-taking even in the face of economic contraction.

“The attitude I’ve heard around here, consistently, has been, we’re willing to try it,” Griffin said. “We want to commend you all for that and urge you to recognize that it’s a little more than the norm.” Griffin said he expected to hear excuses of why things were not done anymore, in luight of budget cuts. He didn’t hear such excuses. Rather, every dollar was put to the benefit of students in the form of reading teachers, electives, art and music education and various types of academic coaches, all of which have been cut in many other districts.

“I have enough comparisons to know when I say these things, I don’t make them up,” Griffin said. “So you should feel good.” Students, he said, feel safe at school, according to interviews—an irony, considering that the district is now proposing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to add deputies in elementary schools—and like to be in their school environment. The team was also especially complimentary of the physical condition of district schools, with one caveat: they’re big, though Griffin said that wasn’t so much a criticism as an observation. But he wasn’t telling board members anything new: the district’s schools have been criticized for being too big.

Griffin made another notable observation: as the team visited classroom after classroom, he had the sense that he was going to end up with many 4’s, the top grade, on many criteria. Instead, the average came out at 3 or below in most cases. The reason: ion some classes, the teachers were fully engaged, and engaging, in their modernized approaches, notching up those 4’s. In many others, teachers got only 1’s, as they were not—during the visit, anyway—implementing technologies and strategies the accreditors were looking for. Griffin was kind in his explanation: he said the disparity may have merely shown that at those very moments, the strategies were not being used, which did not necessarily mean that the teachers were averse to them.


But Griffin was also unwittingly observing one of the perennial challenges for the district: closing the gap between younger, more innovative teachers and older, more established—and more rigid—teachers who tend to resist innovations, and teach more “traditionally” (the word Griffin used).

The accrediting agency normally makes recommendations on what to improve. In this case, the Flagler district got one recommendation only: “Expand the strategic plan to ensure the system supports the vision and mission of the school system beyond 2014.” In other words, plan more broadly beyond 2014.

One reason for the abbreviated horizon is Valentine’s plan to retire sometime in the coming couple of years. But she said she would be implementing a longer strategic plan that would run to 2017 or 2018. The district has two years to file an updated response to the accreditation report.

When Board Chairman Andy Dace opened the floor to public comment, several people, including John Winston, who chairs the district’s African American Mentors program, and Sims Jones, a pastor who works with the less-than privileged, reminded the board that for all the overall achievements, serious problems remain with students who can’t read, students who are being left behind, and who are falling prey to the district’s disciplinary vise.

One striking fact: only 40 percent of black students are reading at a satisfactory level, compared with 65 percent for whites, 67 percent for Asians, and 60 percent overall.

Andy Dance, the board chairman, acknowledged those very reminders. “There’s a lot of passion in the comments that were made, and it’s that passion that makes us all better,” he said, asking Winston and Jones to keep the comments coming.
For other board members, the accreditation was validation for the district’s work in general, and a timely affirmation as the district prepares to ask voters to approve a new levy to compensate for lost state revenue, and to restore 45 minutes a day to the school schedule—time cut two years ago to save money, as budgets were cut.

“I know in my heart that with the continued support of this community we are going to be able to return that 45 minutes to the students’ day,” Dickinson said. “I hope in my heart that that’s going to come through for us.”

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35 Responses for “Flagler School District Is Glowingly Re-Accredited, a Timely Validation Ahead of Levy Push”

  1. Jr says:

    Give me a break. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. More reason now to dig deeper into our pockets.
    January of this year to now more students left the school district. Why?

    • Colleen Conklin says:

      Really Jr.?
      Can we not allow the district and the hard work of ALL staff, teachers, and administrators enjoy this moment without such nasty negative comments. This is an arduous process that everyone has been preparing for since last year. This is an outside internationally accrediting body. Their exit evaluation was scheduled long long ago.

      It’s a sad commentary, that some in the community can’t just celebrate this news. Appreciate the fact that our district while not perfect is working on continuous improvement and academic excellence. They rarely hand out “Powerful Practices” that are evident throughout a system, yet Flagler received 4. 4! I realize that those outside of the education world may not realize what that means but that is rare and a HUGE honor. It’s evident of everyone’s hard work.
      As far as your cheeky comment – Flagler has been one of a handful of districts who have NOT lost students over the last few years due to the turn down in the economy. Volusia county has been decimated by decreasing enrollment. It has finally hit us. Our students are not leaving and moving to a neighboring district because of the quality of education but most are moving out of state or out of county for work. I’m sure we’ve lost some to charter schools but for the most part the reason for the decline is family employment.

      You are entitled to your opinion but for the Love of Pete can we just allow the district to enjoy this esteemed and valid evaluation from an outside entity who knows nothing about our politics and is only focused on education.

      Flagler County should be proud of this accomplishment, not bash it.

      • DLF says:

        Don’t throw your arm out of location while you pat yourself on the back. Read the detail,results are not so great considering the money we spend. I agree, this came on the tail of a new tax levy. sometimes the facts mess up the truth.

      • Sweat says:

        And how does it affect the teachers? That hasn’t been explained to us.

      • Sweat says:

        We’re the teachers selected randomly?z

      • Reality Check says:

        No Coleen you do not get to enjoy it, a one out of 10 is not satisfactory on a yearly performance review, in the private sector you would all be facing performance improvement plans bordering termination. I pulled my child out of the FCSD, I tried it all; IEP, begging for help from the ESE dept. and personally contacting each school board member, the only one I received an answer from was Andy Dance and it said I will get back to you, which was 9 months ago. All the other issues we have far out weigh your glowing review from some consulting firm paid by the state, when firms give a dim review the state tends no longer use their services. Not since Dr. Guines has there been a member who is worth their salt, he was in it for the right reasons not the money (he donated his back) you earn 30K a year for a part time position and a teacher there 20 years earns 50K. You now need a new tax to pay for security at a cost of 400K, but the tax will bring over 3 million, this is to cover the fact that you cannot balance a budget and make hard choices. Explain how Janet Valentine needs an assistant at over 100K a year when we have no money, explain why we need an A school banners in front of a school, are you advertising to attract new students? The fact is there is so much wasteful spending that people are just sick of hearing the districts excuses, money spent on a special election? Are you telling me you did not see the financial shortfall in November when the regular election was being held and there would have been no additional cost? maybe its time for our tax dollars to go to forensic accountants to find the wasteful spending and eliminate the positions in the district that need to be cut, every business is under great pressure but in the private sector you make it work or they find someone who will. I pay taxes in Flagler yet also have to pay for private school (my choice) because my child was not getting an adequate education and they just let it happen because the cost of special education is just to high, not my words but your ESE directors. I really thought about suing the district but that would cost more than the money I spend on private education, plus the fact that it would be like going to divorce court and finding out the judge is your mother-in-law.

      • Karyn Jacobs says:

        Good for you, Coleen Conklin!
        I really liked your reply
        Being accredited by an outside organization means you were WILLING to go through the grueling process.
        That says a lot right there!

        • Reality Check says:

          @ Karyn, just so you know that “Outside Agency” is made up of public education employees, thats like getting a glowing review from your Mom & Dad, bring in outside people from the business world and see a real review. Conklin is nothing more than a politician whos feelings are hurt because the TRUTH hurts, sorry but things need to change in this entire county.

          • Sally says:

            To “Reality check” – Oh right – let’s have the “business world” come in and accredit schools? Srudents are not widgets! If you believe that, then how about this – I worked in health care – I suppose we should let plumbers accredit hospitals (not to say they don’t know how to evaluate your plumbing)? Who better to evaluate a school than leaders in education who know what the best practices are? Get a grip!

            • Reality Check says:

              @ Sally, who are your accredited leaders? A voted in (politician) school board member, Children have nothing to do with the numbers being spent. Just because someone is on the school board does not mean they know anything about education or better yet how to run a successful business operation. I am saying they will have a more professional view on how to fix the budget and look at the operation from a financial stand point, making hard discussions is tough for a politician. No politician wants to look unpopular, its political suicide, that prospective goes away with a business only view. If you want this group of misfits to piss our children’s money away go ahead and vote them in again, it’s your American right, I say no to their awful management performance.

  2. Reality Check says:

    Yes this is a real achievement, this is a joke; the school system reports to the state. Do you really believe the state will slap the county? No way because then the state would bear the burden of the cost to fix it. The entire system is a joke. They are broke and asking for a new tax, why don’t they sell that palace they are sitting in and move into portables behind a school? It’s good enough for the kids, right Andy? 30 K a year each and valentine getting 150K a year and received an assistant (Olivia at over 100K per year) hell I would be proud too. It is time for a school district enema, teachers take on the main burden at around 50K and the FCSB gets 30K for their part time positions. Privatize the schools and run them like a business, terminate those that do not preform up to the level spelled out for them, FCSB take a note, it is not okay to do a mediocre job at best just because you answer to the next level of government.

  3. Edman says:

    only 40 percent of black students are reading at a satisfactory level, compared with 65 percent for whites, 67 percent for Asians, and 60 percent overall.

    …. and we are proud?????

    • kmedley says:

      Edman –

      You must have read my mind! That is the statement that struck me the most.

      Flagler has received 4, count them, 4, “Powerful Practices”, an academic nod from an outside source which we are to celebrate, that demonstrate “academic excellence”. An overall 60% reading at satisfactory levels?! I wonder how many of those students, and future voters, would be able to read and comprehend the referendum that will be put before the voters in this proposed Special Election.

      With all due respect, Jr. is correct in stating his opinion. This report will be used to convince the voters to approve the tax increases. If I honestly believed the money would actually be used to focus on areas such as reading levels, I might consider a “Yes” vote; but, sadly, the money will be used to extend the school day, giving more time to the non-education of our students, it will be used to re-hire teachers that are not held accountable for their teaching abilities, and it will be used to promote a false sense of security on campus as a knee jerk reaction to Sandy Hook. As a result, more students hoping to enter the programs at Daytona State College will be required to take remedial courses before beginning college level courses.

      By all means, take time to celebrate this awesome achievement.

  4. h&h says:

    Edman. Maybe they’re also home schooled.

  5. Joe Joe says:

    Good job to Flagler County Schools! Unlike all the negative nannies in here I am glad to see some positive things from our school district…

  6. Stevie says:

    http://www.advanc-ed.org/board-trustees

    Many on the board are none other than public school employees from around the country.

    Go figure.

  7. confidential says:

    So conviniently timed to help promote the referendum..?Nahhh…

  8. Bill says:

    The proof is in the pudding. Students are graduating that can’t read, write or do math. Teachers work what 180 days a year and act like they are over worked. Think of those who work in hospitals who work year round! How many teachers took personal days so far this school year where substitute teachers had to be called in and paid with additional tax dollars.

    Teachers have the technology and everything they need and still aren’t teaching our children to prepare them for the world.

    This story is nothing more than a sales pitch to justify a special election. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

    • tampanative says:

      Dear Bill,

      I do not understand what those who work in hospitals have to do with teachers. Two totally different professions. Next, what statistics do you have to prove a significant part of the student population graduate with the inability to read, write, or do math? The accreditation was in the works well before the special election you speak of. In case you did not read, the school district was first accredited 10 years ago and every 5 it must go through a re-evaluation. There is no doubt that the district has some serious concerns it must address in the near future, but to down play this accomplishment is ludicrous.

      Now the issue of teacher personal days. My husband teaches students at probably the most difficult age group, middle school students. He has not taken one single personal day this year. If you are so worried about it, why don’t you become a teacher and lets see you never take a personal day.

      • Bill says:

        Dear Tampanative:
        Teachers don’t work as long of hours or year round and we constantly hear how over worked and underworked they are and how difficult their job is. Health care professionals work most time longer days, all year, and too deal with difficult people, and an ever changing career and deal with changes, new technology and budgets. Do you honestly think every patient they deal with is pleasant and none are homeless? They deal with patience that can’t read, can’t see, have ADD and have to show them how to take care of them selves after they leave the medical facility, and find out information from the patient to know how to treat them to begin with. Their are language barriers and people who can’t or don’t do their homework when they go home to do what they have been instructed to do. They don’t have the luxury of sending a patient to the Principal or other Official when the patient doesn’t listen or gets out of control or put other patients and themselves in danger.. They don’t expell patients when they don’t want to deal with them anymore. They don’t send them to alternative hospitals and label patients. These professionals that deal with these situations are college educated and do their jobs without all the complaining and don’t exhibit the poor ol me, and entitlement attitude. It is not possible to hold a special election when the costs exceed the incoming revenue because people can’t or don’t pay their bill or when employees whine they are over paid and underworked.

        The statistics are in our society reflecting students can’t read, write and do match. Apparently you haven’t realized they are prepared for a test (FCAT) and not the real world. Talk to a young person in public next time you are in the grocery store, or at a public event. As one a few questions like Jay Leno and you too will be shocked of their knowledge…I have done this and cringe to think this is our future!

        The District has some serious concerns they need to address NOW!

        Your husband sounds like an exception, but you need to tell us about the rest of the teachers. I have been there, I know. There is no excuse for a teacher to miss work and for all the substitutes to fill in unless it is an emergency when they don’t work but 180 days a year. When staff is paid salary, they are paid whether they are there or not, and there is no incentive to not miss work. The School Board needs to set a policy and limit the number of days a teacher can miss or they need to be replaced with the exception of emergency circumstances. This alone would save a tremendous amount of money in what substitute teachers are being paid, and this would be better for the student! The students are there for a limited amount of time and they don’t handle teacher changes very well. Because the amount of time is limited to educate the child, and that is what the teacher is being paid to do, the teacher needs to be in the class room!

        Instead of cutting money that takes away from the students sports, and impacts their quality education, hold the teachers accountable, restrict time off work for them, and if they don’t like it, replace them with someone who wants to teach.

        Teachers and administration are constantly ragging on the behavior of students, but look at the news each night and keep counting how many teachers are resigning, being fired or jailed for their own behaviors. How many more are out there that we don’t yet know about? How many are or could be in Flagler County? I have certainly seen some inappropriate behaviors from Flagler County school board employees and wish now I had reported some of it to law enforcement. What about the Bunnell Elementary School employee that is going to prison who was exposed to our kids for years; so don’t tell me “not in Flagler County”.

        You want to screen the public, but what about those are children are placed with here in our public schools? What about those that haven’t made the news yet? Is there an alternative place for teachers?? Don’t treat our kids like they are disposable! Learn Love, Compassion, Understanding, Ethics, Hard-work and how to manage not only a day, but a budget!

        Many companies are dealing with hard times, and can’t ask for a special election to bail them out. The school board’s judgment is unacceptable and this was demonstrated when a employee within the school system was promoted to Assistant School Superintendent to be paid over $100,000 a year! Administration now it TOP heavy, realize this and make some adjustments before you consider asking for a special election.

    • IMO says:

      I for one never allow the comment that “Teachers only work 180 days a year” to pass unanswered. Because people like you don’t state the full fact of how long a Teacher’s day is during that 180 day school cycle.

      On average a Teacher works about 14 hours a day. They get no paid time during the school day to prepare lessons, answer parent inquires, notify parents as to a student’s lack of effort or missed homework assignments. Most of all they are not paid during the school day to mark test papers or review written reports and other assignments.

      They are teaching every period during the day in the schools. The rest of the work they do at home in the evenings or on weekends.

      Since they are contractual workers they do not receive overtime for work they must do outside the school.

      Reality Check, I don’t live in the entire country. I own a home in Palm Coast.

      Ms. Conklin I am in daily contact with many Palm Coast Real Estate offices who cannot thank you enough for this glowing report. They cannot make This Accreditation Report part of their housing marketing plans quick enough.

      Each day I receive requests to answer perspective home buyers from all over the nation asking questions as to the Palm Coast area at Trulia.com. You, your staff and Teacher’s accomplishments will now be included in my reports to those families seeking an overview assessment as to relocating to Palm Coast.

      Congratulations on this outstanding achievement.

      • Anonymous says:

        On average most teachers have volunteers and aids whether it be in adult form or in the form of studnts withprivledges. Not all teachers have papers or many papers to grade, and many grade papers while students are doing their work when they are not giving instruction. Not to mention when students pass papers and grade them in the class. The majority of teachers don’t work 14 hour days, and for the most part teachers don’t work the days they are scheduled to work and substitute teachers are called in at an additional expense to us the tax payer! There is an exception for a few teachers, but they are far and few between.

        For the most part planning is repeated with a few adjustments, and teachers share planning information. Parents work and then come home prepare and serve dinner and play the role of teacher without pay and without proper instuction and knowledge of the assignment.

  9. Jr says:

    @ Colleen Conklin

    You’re saying people outside education don’t know what the achievements are? How do you know who you are addressing? Could have been a teacher. You seem to be having a tough time of late and out of touch with the tax payers of Flagler County who pay the bills.

    Cheeky and Nasty? What! Are you taking on the Reverend Mother roll now. Nothing nasty about what I said. If anything, just tired of all the taxes we are facing. Call me a gadfly but certainly not nasty! If I were you, I’d be embarrassed to release those reading scores.

    • Bill says:

      Colleen,
      You wouldn’t have to be facing all these taxes if you learned how to investigate and look deeper into matters to determine where you could save money. I guarantee if a special election isn’t passed and expenses increase you are going to figure out a way to get by without raising taxes. The school board isn’t doing their job when they aren’t looking into the top heavy administration, putting a limitation on the number of days teachers can be out so funds wouldn’t have to be spent hiring substitute teachers to do the job the teachers are being paid to do. These are some things the school board should have already been doing, and should have done before they considered asking for more tax dollars by wanting to ask for a special election.

      Enrollment has declined,
      Students are being suspended from school and tax dollars are being collected for these students
      Students are being suspended which contributes to declining enrollment.
      Declining enrollment leads to lower costs, so stop asking for more and more tax dollars
      Students are retained which indicates teachers aren’t teaching these students
      Students aren’t passing the FCAT which indicates students are not being taught
      Teachers are not being held accountable in more ways than one and one I can see is in their attendance.
      Teachers are not being tested and the board is accepting any one with a degree whether they are qualified or proven or not.
      The school board gave themselves a raise knowing funds were needed to educate our students
      School Board Member positions should be volunteer, not paid. Will you Colleen want to be school board member then?
      If a Special Election takes place, add the option of making school board members a volunteer position on the ballot and see if the rest of the people feel as I do.

      This current board, administration and teachers need to be held accountable.

  10. r&r says:

    Keep whining and complaining about the school board then next election re-elect the same out of touch and useless people back in.. Way to go Palm Coast..

  11. Liana G says:

    Question: Are the reading stats quoted here last school year’s numbers when instructional time was cut by 45 minutes? And what are the stats for the school year prior to that when the 45 minutes were not cut? (We should also keep in mind that these scores are not without improved “tweaking”).

    This to me would be the indicator of whether taxing the citizens AGAIN to increase the budget for purely non-academic gains make sense. It’s obvious from the report that additional SROs are NOT needed.

    My kids attend a school with 4,500 students. It has a 47% student diversity makeup that is more impressive than the UN – that’s no easy challenge to cater to such diversity! It has one interim principal and as much APs as Matanzas. Quality and not necessarily quantity should be the focus.

    Just want to say that my kids sure do miss ITMS and now think Mr. O was actually quite awesome! They still remember the Big 3 and use it…even I can’t forget it. Kudos ITMS!!!! And FPC too!

  12. IMO says:

    It is my understanding that the half-dozen professional educators—teachers, principals, university professors, administrators of the independent Accreditation Board all came from school districts outside the State of Florida.

    Those who are posting here that these were Florida educators engaging in some conspiracy before the referendum are posting a falsehood.

    Please allow me to enlighten many here who are objecting to the additional tax increase of .25 cents per taxable unit voters are being asked to vote on in January. We are relatively new residents in Palm Coast having moved here from New York three years ago. Our annual school taxes in New York had risen to $8,096.10 per year on our single family home. Then there were the $5,259.19 in general property taxes. We were literally taxed out of remaining in New York State. We had just become fixed income retirees and $ $13,400 in school and property taxes were unmanageable. However there is a silver lining to the black cloud that is now hanging over many school districts in northeast states. They may be raising taxes but they are not hiring young teachers. Most school districts in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and other northeast states have been in a virtual hiring freeze since 2008. Older Teachers are not retiring fearing the current economy. This has resulted in some of the best and brightest young teachers recently graduated from some of the best universities and colleges in the northeast to migrate to other states to find teaching jobs. Well guess what a lot of them ended up in Florida and other southern states, Midwest states and Texas where they are complimenting those Teachers who have always been residents of those states.

    They only want to do one thing and that is they want to teach. They are young, motivated and so far still dedicated to their chosen profession. Cynicism has not yet set in with these young teachers and hopefully it will not set in in the future.

    But it is not just young teachers fleeing the northeast states. The Governors and Mayors of northeast states and large cities call it the “Brain Drain” out of their states. They cannot figure out a way to stop the young college graduates from leaving their states. There are simply no jobs for them. That is their loss but can be a State like Florida’s gain.

    Now let us look at some facts. Wall Street Brokerage Houses and Hedge Fund Mangers are moving their operations out of high taxed New York State and City and relocating to “Southern Florida.” That’s a win win for Florida. High tech computer companies in the high taxed northeast states are looking at Palm Coast and other Florida areas as a possible location to relocate too. At least two that I am aware of are looking at the Palm Coast area. If they relocate here these two computer companies will bring 1500 to 2000 good paying jobs to the area. Discussions in the northeast high tech computer companies is which Florida location can they make the Silicon Valley of the east coast. If they decide to come here their workers will need housing. Trust me one of the things these companies will be looking at in their decision making process is the school districts. As of today your schools are receiving A ratings. Now they have this new accreditation achievement.

    Now as I said we have only been here for 3 years. But I am not going to risk my new Florida home value declining over a .25 cent per tax unit tax school tax increase. It does not matter what state a school district is located in if that School District is not the “Jewel On The Hill” in the community that community will not attract jobs and young families.

    From what I am reading concerning the Palm Coast School Districts you have your “Jewel On The Hill” I/M/O you need to keep it sparkling and polished. I/M/O .25 cents is not to high a cost to polish that jewel.

  13. Lucy says:

    How ironic, sounds like you ran down here to get away from the exorbitant taxes up North and have deeper pockets than most fixed income retirees here. Those young teachers get very disillusioned real quick teaching in the Flagler/Volusia/Orlando public schools and don’t stay around. When the economy clears up they’re gone. Fact is the FCS system solves everything with money. How convenient. No to new taxes!

    • IMO says:

      I/M/O you fail to see the larger picture of the demographic changes taking place in this nation. The population of Palm Coast grew 129.6% between 2000 and 2010. In 2000 the population was 32,732 the 2010 census set the population at 75,180 an increase of 42,448 people.

      The population of young children under the age of 4 years grew by 198.38%. It is now 2013 and many of those children that were under the age of 4 are now just starting their school careers,.

      The population of persons between 5 and 17 years of age grew by 156.24%. In the year 2000 Palm Coast had a school age population of approximately 5,062 people. In 2010 that school age population had grown to approximately 16,114 young people.

      Those are the demographic numbers. From what I can observe the Flagler School system has handled this growth in the student population quite well even with budget cuts and funding being cut.

      Now that you can see the actual numbers does a .25 cent tax increase per taxable unit appear to high? I don’t think it is high at all. From my life’s perspective I am celebrating this extremely low tax increase proposal.

    • IMO says:

      Ironic? Would you have stayed in a place where they changed the tax assessment system to Full Market Value and raised your combined school and property taxes to $13,400 per year?

      So no we did not decide to leave New York the politicians and the unions made that decision for us.

      The no snow and ice is nice also.

      Would you stay in a place where electric rates now average $350 a month and home heating oil prices (the overwhelming majority of homes in the northeast are heated with oil) is now over $4.00 a gallon.

      That is why the young college graduates are fleeing the northeast. That is also why the retirees are fleeing the northeast.

  14. Reality Check says:

    You get a lot more for your tax dollar up north, those towns and cities have been there for a 100 years so that’s why the tax dollars are high. If you do not think the tax stream here will be double in the next 10 years than look back at the tax dockets before we became a city. Every city and town will need to raise taxes, they want to provide the things we had up north well that costs money, community centers, youth centers aquatic facilities such as the YMCA none of this is free. And for the love of God please stop with the “fixed income” nonsense, I am a salaried employee so just about everyone I know is on a fixed income. If you did not save enough for your retirement, who’s fault would that be?

  15. Jojo says:

    Good for you – you can pay my taxes then.

  16. Jo Losturo says:

    “We could have saved the Earth, but we were too damned cheap.” Kurt Vonnegut
    This applies to almost everything, nowadays. Nobody wants to spend the money to make this a better place in which to live. This country and our kids deserve our investments for the future.

  17. Murphy Brown says:

    Where is the august NAACP on this? Oh wait, they are too busy fundraising and performing their flunkie functions as a branch office of the Dem Party. Their priority is their fundraising not helping black kids. Oh, they TALK a good game, and jawbone parents to “do better” but talk and ACTION are 2 different things. If black kids are doing badly isn’t the most immediate direct approach to get these kids tutors to help pull their performance up? With all the money the NAACP is raking in from sponsors, why haven’t they put their money where their mouth is, and take IMMEDIATE action that will yield results for kids right away?

    OF course they wouldn’t, because that would cut into other, trendier things, like protesting why there aren’t enough black celebs in some Hollywood production, or legal action in support of losing horses- like busing plans long since irrelevant due to white flight. Look at how their money is spent- plenty in support of their white liberal masters, little at the grassroots where action is most deeded. Their so-called ACT-SO “educational” contest is a fraction of what they spend on other things, and even then, its mostly the kids of the better off blacks who benefit, not the grassroots.

    As for the school district, they are bureaucratically driven and that’s their focus. The union’s primary business is pay, benefits and other contract provisions not kids. Flagler teachers are relatively well paid in local context. A single starting salary for a teacher is ABOVE the median income in this County. The taxpayers And now they want ANOTHER tax increase? We are constantly told that “to get the best people” we need to spend even more. But we are not told that the flip side of spending more is that the entrenched union deadwood has an incentive to hold on, and stay on even longer. Where else are they gonna be making 50K a year in this area?

    And the part-time school board is pulling 30K a year and they want even MORE tax money? The School Board is the tacit enabler, saddling taxpayers with ever increasing payroll and benefit burdens, hidden for the hammer to fall into the future. Coleen Conklin is gonna be long gone with heavy pension hits start falling due down the road. The two work in tacit tandem- the union and the School Board, fleecing taxpayers, while fooling the gullible with sugar-coated platitudes.

    And for all their talk, the school regimes are not pushing kids as hard as they could. The FCAT scores are not all that- they are mediocre overall, and appear good relative to OTHER MEDIOCRE scores elsewhere. If they were serious about black achievement they would toughen up the work- including raising eligibility requirements for extra-curricular activity such as sports. They would demand even more homework, and extra reading, and shift bloated admin overhead into direct academic support to do so. They would introduce targeted boot camps for low performers. But they will not of course, because it would mean more work. Its easier to continue the bureaucratic routine, collect that union wage and let the kids fail.

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