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Superintendent Janet Valentine: Why You Should Vote For the .25 Mill School Tax Levy

| October 14, 2010

matanzas high school graduation 2010

What it's about. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler County Schools is hosting a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hammock Community Center to present information and answer questions on the .25 Millage Tax Levy continutation.

By Janet Valentine

The current economic downturn is threatening our schools, programs for students, staff and community. That is the rationale the Flagler County School Board considered in its decision to take the .25 mill referendum to the voters in Flagler County.  We want to protect everything we have built to provide an “A+” education for our children.  Our children deserve the best educational opportunities possible to prepare them for their future – no matter what they do after high school.

The state is not providing the dollars necessary to adequately fund our schools.  For the past three years we have been taking every measure we could think of to cut our budget to the bone.  This includes the elimination of field trips, after school clubs, and middle school sports, plus drastic cuts in transportation, building maintenance and custodial services.  

Parents need to understand that we are looking at every program to consider additional cuts for next year due to the projected reductions in our budget.  We are not asking our fellow citizens for new funding but rather the continuation of the existing millage rate.

Our community needs to invest in our children by voting yes on the referendum to continue the .25 mill for our school district’s critical operating needs.

flagler county school superintendent janet valentine

Janet Valentine (© FlaglerLive)

A yes vote will not increase your current taxes, it will only be an approval to continue taxes as they were during 2010. However, this will provide 2.1 million dollars directly to our school district.  Our students will benefit directly by these dollars.  Schools will be maintained and equipped, technology kept up to date and high school sports and arts programs will be able to continue. We know that even if the .25 mill is approved on November 2nd we will still have to prepare for a 5 million dollar shortfall, but the blow from that funding calamity will at least be softened.

School Board members have been holding town hall meetings across the district to inform citizens about the .25 mill referendum and the need to continue the tax.  A Political Action Committee called Funding Flagler’s Educational Future has formed to directly support this effort. 

This property tax is not a new tax; it is a continuation of a tax levy that has been in place since 2008 as part of local efforts to fund our school district.  The.25 mill equates to $25.00 per year on a $100,000 mortgage with a homestead exemption, costing less than a cup of coffee per week. Please support our children and vote yes on the referendum for our school districts critical operating needs.

Janet Valentine is Flagler County’s school superintendent.

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17 Responses for “Superintendent Janet Valentine: Why You Should Vote For the .25 Mill School Tax Levy”

  1. Jim Guines says:

    Copies of this article should be printed and passed around at as many meetings as possible to get the word out. Good informational article.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The City of Palm Coast buys a new one million dollar fire truck, the Queen has canceled her Christmas party and old folk will not be getting a COLA next year. Valentine and Guines get real.

  3. Pierre Tristam says:

    Anonymous (why the anonymity?), the last people who need a raise or financial help of any kind in this society are the old–the only segment of society that managed to see its household income increase last year, a significant 5 percent at that, in the depths of a recession some of the dodderers in those households can compare so much more favorably, as far as they’re concerned, to the Depression they lived through, thanks to the government programs inspired by that depression and that now help support them. As for your queen, she only canceled the Christmas party to make up for her Marie Antoinette moment, when she wanted to use $100 million in grants earmarked for low-income families to heat her empty palaces instead.

    The old don’t need help. Children do. Schools do. Your disconnected dots do.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I suppose you want teachers to teach for nothing too. Tell that to old folk living on fixed income. Do we really need a 1 million dollar fire truck or is it a pony show to fill in the gaps at parades and events in this rich city. Let them eat cake.

  5. Kip Durocher says:

    “If you think education is expensive – try igornance.” Derek Bok

    The only hope of maintaining a strong, competitive United States of America is in the education of it’s citizens. The children sitting in Flagler County schools, at this very moment, are the future citizen leaders of this county, it’s cities, this state and this nation. I have heard all the reasons why we should keep lowering the taxes and none make any sense when it comes to education. Our nation will only remain top tier as long as our educational system allows it to. In this respect we are already failing. World wide we are no longer in the top 10 nations in science and math. The world our children will grow into will require much more education than any past generations were required to have. Excellent computer skills will be required of most all workers. The issue here is not even a tax increase. It is just to leave things at status quo. The amount involved here can not possibly change the bottom line picture for an individual, but collectively it can cripple Flagler County Schools.

    It costs more to keep a young person in Florida prisons for a year than it does to send him or her to college at one of the state universities ~ and a love and desire for learning begins right here in the
    Flagler County Schools. Do what you know is right.

  6. Barney Smythe says:

    And what is Valentines salary and perks?

  7. Liana G says:

    Remove tenure, make teachers and administrators accountable and we’ll be all ears. These cushy gov’t jobs are draining the system.

    My husband works in the hospitality industry, bonuses are tied to his salary, if he does not meet budget projections – no bonus. Too many missed budjet projections – pink slip.

    Today ‘zero tolerance’ rule is being used to push out low achieving students, ie students with behavioral problems due to low self esteem, learning disability etc, but rather than put forth the effort to educate these students, schools are pushing them out the system so that they can collect their bonuses/rewards. Whatever happened to teaching for intrinsic motives and not the extrinsic.

    Something has got to give – we simply can’t go on this way.

  8. silent says:

    No to this tax

    Until now they could jsut pass this tax on to us – about time we had a say so

    CUT SPENDING

  9. Darren May says:

    anonymous,

    How did a discussion of a fire truck get into this discussion? Did you read the article?

    Liana G, following is a link for Zero Tolerance on the Student Code of Conduct that parents and students should read before attending school. http://www.flaglerschools.com/content/parents-students. Provide evidence to those on here that what you say is occurring in Flagler County Schools. By the way Zero Tolerance offenses are established by the Florida Department of Education.

    Those people that do not use their full name should not be given any credence, because they are to chicken for everyone to see how foolish they really are. Isn’t that correct, anonymous and silent says?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Darren May,

    Because I can remain anonymous and I want to remain anonymous. When we vote we can remain anonymous – does that make my vote ineffable. Fire trucks and LSAT’s. One is about money and the second about logic.

  11. Darren May says:

    Anonymous,

    Your vote counts just as much as mine, I did not say anything about your right to vote. Your logic is flawed. Nowhere in the article above are fire trucks nor the LSAT mentioned. How does what the Queen of England have anything to do with the United States? We declared our Independence from them over 234 years ago. Just another reason people should not believe what you have to say.

  12. Liana G says:

    Darren May – I could have sent you to NUMEROUS links or you can simply google ‘zero tolerance’. But here’s one for a start. I am glad you’ve shown an interest, Thank you Liana.

    http://www.fairtest.org/how-testing-feeds-schooltoprison-pipeline

    Tests and zero tolerance work hand in glove:-

    NCLB has raised the stakes attached to test results, especially in urban, low-income districts, which face severe sanctions for failure to boost test scores. Zero tolerance imposes harsh penalties for nonviolent infractions, some as harmless as drawing on desks with erasable markers (Herbert, March 6, 2010). It provides a pretext for removing low-scoring students and improving a school’s test score bottom line.

    In Florida, for example, researchers found schools gave low-scoring students longer suspensions than high scoring students who committed similar infractions (Figlio, 2003). Moreover, the test-prep culture pits teachers against kids, damages school climate and reduces students’ engagement with school. This in turn fosters problem behaviors, which are then countered with zero tolerance. Zero tolerance and high-stakes testing reinforce each other, creating a downward spiral.

    Punitive culture promotes strategies to weed out ‘troublemakers’/low scorers:-

    Since NCLB, there’s been an increasing use of strategies such as withdrawing students from school rolls or sending them to alternative schools or GED programs. Out of school suspensions and expulsions are also on the rise nationally, with startling increases in many states (Advancement Project, 2010).

    Students of color and the disabled increasingly bear the brunt:-

    Racial disparities in student expulsions are increasing. For example, between 2002-03 and 2006-07, expulsions decreased by 2% for white students, but increased 33% for blacks and 6% for Latinos. Similar disparities exist for students with disabilities (SWD). In Ohio, for example, SWDs were twice as likely to be suspended out-of-school as their peers in 2007-08. And in Texas, in 2005-06, students enrolled in special education accounted for 11% of the student population but 26% of all out-of-school suspensions. Vastly disproportionate numbers of low-income, racial minority, SWDs and English language learners fail state exit tests and do not obtain diplomas (FairTest, 2009).

  13. Liana G says:

    Darren – Flagler live is moderating my original posting because of the link attach. In the meantime, here’s a quick read, more will follow when my original post gets posted. Thanks for calling me out, it means you’re interested – and we need a lot of interested citizens. Thanks Liana.

    NCLB has raised the stakes attached to test results, especially in urban, low-income districts, which face severe sanctions for failure to boost test scores. Zero tolerance imposes harsh penalties for nonviolent infractions, some as harmless as drawing on desks with erasable markers (Herbert, March 6, 2010). It provides a pretext for removing low-scoring students and improving a school’s test score bottom line.

    In Florida, for example, researchers found schools gave low-scoring students longer suspensions than high scoring students who committed similar infractions (Figlio, 2003). Moreover, the test-prep culture pits teachers against kids, damages school climate and reduces students’ engagement with school. This in turn fosters problem behaviors, which are then countered with zero tolerance. Zero tolerance and high-stakes testing reinforce each other, creating a downward spiral.

  14. Truth Traveler says:

    Liana how about providing links and information specific to Florida. Who cares what is happening in Ohio.
    If you think those things are what is happening here in FC then you are not in touch with our school system and how many programs are provided for our lowest achieving students including FREE after school tutoring.
    It is the average student in our county that gets the least amount of attention.
    AND because of the way the FLDOE wrote it’s AYP plan with different cells and penalties for subgroups not make AYP, poor black learning disabled males and females get the most attention than any other subgroup in our schools. Go learn about our RTI process.
    Get in touch with OUR schools here that is asking for this .25 mil to continue.

  15. Darren May says:

    Just wondering if you followed up on the references in the article you provided as a reference. The following quote in the article was taken out of context, “Zero tolerance imposes harsh penalties for nonviolent infractions, some as harmless as drawing on desks with erasable markers (Herbert, March 6, 2010).” At no time did it mention that the students in this case had been suspended or dismissed from school, more a violation of their rights by the school safety officer and police. You cannot believe everything you read.

  16. Liana G says:

    I have three kids in the FCDS. I know about RTI. And yes I am all for spending more resources on struggling learners so that they too are given an opportunity to become productive members of society.

    We (society) rail against welfare and helping those in need – well them IF we would instead make an effort to educate ALL students so that they too can contribute to society, then we would not really need to help them later on in life. No one says ‘when I grow up I want to be poor beggar’ but everyone aspires to be someone important, to live a meaningful life, but not everyone gets the opportunity – all I am asking is that we give them the opportunity. I volunteer in a middle school ESE classroom and I see the potential in these students and their willingness to learn. Yes, it cost the state more BUT IT’s MONEY WELL SPENT! And for that I am willing to pay more than the .25 whatever. But get rid of zero tolerance, get rid of tenure, or just give us school vouchers, then these students will still be allowed to go to school, any school and that’s all that matters!

    Here is what’s happening IN FLORIDA – I guess you miss that part
    In Florida, for example, researchers found schools gave low-scoring students longer suspensions than high scoring students who committed similar infractions (Figlio, 2003). Moreover, the test-prep culture pits teachers against kids, damages school climate and reduces students’ engagement with school. This in turn fosters problem behaviors, which are then countered with zero tolerance. Zero tolerance and high-stakes testing reinforce each other, creating a downward spiral.

  17. Liana G says:

    Darren May:

    Most certainly we should not believe everything we hear and read. Ultimately, common sense and what benefits the greater good of society should prevail.

    But here’s the story from the NY daily news. She was suspended.

    A 12-year-old Queens girl was hauled out of school in handcuffs for an artless offense – doodling her name on her desk in erasable marker, the Daily News has learned.

    Alexa Gonzalez was scribbling a few words on her desk Monday while waiting for her Spanish teacher to pass out homework at Junior High School 190 in Forest Hills, she said.
    “I love my friends Abby and Faith,” the girl wrote, adding the phrases “Lex was here. 2/1/10” and a smiley face.

    She was led out of school in cuffs and walked to the precinct across the street, where she was detained for several hours, she and her mother said.

    City officials acknowledged Alexa’s arrest was a mistake. “We’re looking at the facts,” said City Education Department spokesman David Cantor. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, this shouldn’t have happened.”

    “Even when we’re asked to make an arrest, common sense should prevail, and discretion used in deciding whether an arrest or handcuffs are really necessary,” said police spokesman Paul Browne.

    Alexa is the latest in a string of city students who have been cuffed for minor infractions. In 2007, 13-year-old Chelsea Fraser was placed under arrest for writing “okay” on her desk at Intermediate School 201. And in 2008, 5-year-old Dennis Rivera was cuffed and sent to a psych ward after throwing a fit in his kindergarten.

    A 12-year-old sixth-grader, identified in the lawsuit as M.M., was arrested in March 2009 for doodling on her desk at the Hunts Point School.

    ———————-Alexa is still suspended from her school, her mother said.——————————–

    She and her mom went to family court on Tuesday, where Alexa was assigned eight hours of community service, a book report and an essay on what she learned from the experience.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/02/05/2010-02-05_cuffed_for_doodling_on_a_desk.html#ixzz138dO91sf

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