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Why I’m Voting For the School Tax Referendum, Warts and All

| June 7, 2013

A look at the future. (mrio)

A look at the future. (mrio)

Friday morning, I’ll be going to my precinct and casting a vote for the Flagler County school district’s tax referendum. I’ll be voting for it happily, without reservations.

Not that I don’t have reservations about the way the School Board handled the referendum. I do. Its message was muddled. Its timing was rotten. It had no organized campaign. The opposition set the tone of the debate from the start with outright falsehoods and absurd claims, and seemed more intent on punishing the board and its administration than doing right by our students.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive The board never recovered. It went into this unprepared and took past votes favoring added school taxes for granted. And it threw the kitchen sink at us. The decision to include elementary school cops as part of the supposed tax benefit was a mistake that summed up the errors of the board members’ approach: they tried to make us vote more out of fear than pride for our school system. You don’t win elections that way.

But we’re not voting for the school board, whose mistakes were tactical, not strategic. We’re voting for the sound finances of our schools, and to educate our children as well as we possibly can under difficult circumstances. Local school districts have been under assault from the state, which for the past decade and a half has placed lower taxes ahead of higher IQs. In boom years Flagler compensated because it had rich coffers. It raised teacher pay to near the top of the heap and expanded academic programs. We became an A-rated district four years in a row. It’s not a coincidence. You get what you pay for.

Click On:

Then the recession hit. The state became even stingier. Flagler compensated by using federal stimulus dollars and raiding its reserves. There’s not much left of either. So it’s down to essentials.

When the district cut 45 minutes of middle and high schools’ day two years ago, it saved $2 million, but at a price. We’re beginning to see the result in test scores, which have fallen more steeply than state averages. Florida has always been near the bottom of the table in per-student funding. It’s not getting better. At least within the state, Flagler County is trying not to fall among the dregs, though we’re on our way.

Let’s assume that throwing money at schools isn’t the answer (an idiotic assumption I’ll only grant for the sake of argument: you don’t buy good teachers and principals with Monopoly money). But what about sucking time out of the school schedule? No one can argue that reducing time in school improves education. You might as well say that eliminating a child’s breakfast won’t affect her growth. We already have an abbreviated school day and a short school year, compared to nations that take education more seriously. We can’t afford to make school more of a part-time footnote to a child’s day than it already is, and expect that child to hold off China after graduation.

I want those 45 minutes restored. That’s partly why I’ll be voting yes. But I would have voted yes to twice the tax, if asked. Even then, we’d still be under-taxed, and we’d still be short-changing the sort of school district we ought to have, if having a world-class district is to be more than the cheesy motto it is right now.

Yes, the district could save $1.5 million, at least initially, by closing a school, and double that by closing two schools. But it’s not as simple as closing a school’s doors. This community has never known the trauma of school consolidation. I use the word carefully. I saw and covered that trauma in West Virginia in the early 1990s, when that state was losing population to states like Florida. School closings tear communities apart. They are civil wars without the guns, with social and economic disruptions that far outweigh the savings. Anyone who reduces school consolidation to an accounting stab doesn’t know the measure of a community or the pulse of its heart.

And to propose consolidation in the next year or two would be reckless on demographic grounds, too. The county’s population may have stalled, but no forecast sees much of a decline past the middle of the decade. Closing a school now only to reopen it in a couple of years would be folly. Especially when the district would be obligated to turn over any school building it doesn’t use to a charter, at no cost, planting the seed of more unrest when it comes time to give the school back.

That’s not fiction or theory. It’s a reality too inconvenient for the tax-me-not fanatics to bother with.

Yet the whole debate has been hijacked by a sort of altered universe where white is black and selfishness is next to godliness. Our taxes have been going down, demonstrably and persistently, but opponents keep claiming taxes are going up. We keep seeing our district’s budget shrink, by millions of dollars each year, but opponents keep claiming that spending is out of control. Student enrollment is declining a fraction. But not because the county is losing population. It’s declining mostly because it’s shifted to charter schools—which are also paid for with your taxdollars—though for every quality charter school like Imagine, we have disasters like Heritage, Palm Harbor and Global Outreach.

The point is that the district has saved money, year after year. It had no choice. It’s done it at the expense of teachers and students, and this county’s better judgment, if not its future.

Enough. The board isn’t the enemy. Nor is a barely higher tax. Mediocrity is. And it’s lapping at Flagler’s legacy. That’s why I’m voting for this referendum.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here.

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48 Responses for “Why I’m Voting For the School Tax Referendum, Warts and All”

  1. Nancy N. says:

    Standing ovation for this one Pierre! Beautifully said!

  2. Jason says:

    I am still voting no. Thanks but no thanks. They need to manage their finances like a small income family has to manage their budget. We have to choose the needs of our spending and not the wasteful wants. Trim the fat from the pork.

  3. Edman says:

    For the first time in my life I voted no on a school budget proposal. I did so because the district too often believes its own PR regarding its performance in spite of evidence that our students are not comparing well in the state or nation. If they proposed even more money, but assured us that it would all go directly to improving instruction, I would have gladly voted for it. Raise money to raise standards and I bet our caring citizens would support a tax increase.

  4. Hmmmm says:

    Pierre the 45 minutes is about giving teachers their planning time back within the day….which is a good thing. However those 45 minutes were relenquished without concern for the teachers and students. That cut the budget ….. And still the spending continued. Continued in ways that did not benefit the students or teachers… but instead created more cream at the top. Recent bragging rights puts some of our schools in the top 7% in the nation (laughably) this travesty is obviously making ends meet. I respect your vote and liberal Superman attempt here to save the school day.. But please don’t dare think that money is the solution here.

    • Helene says:

      Hmmm: The 45 minutes may have given the teachers back their planning within the school day; but guess what, it also would have put back 45 minutes of LEARNING into our children’s school day. I was totally incensed when they cut the school day! They should never have done it and our children are paying for it. We need to go back to a full day.

  5. Sherry Epley says:

    Education in our state and our county is not realizing its potential. Funds for education have been cut at the state level. Lottery money is almost 1 Billion dollars per year. It is allocated to the educational trust fund alright, but then it is cut and used for other purposes. This from CBS Miami:

    “Still, education is not doing quite as well as lottery backers had hoped. It’s not due to the lottery money not being there. Instead, the legislature has used education cuts to help fund other parts of the government.

    That left the lottery money to make up the difference between the two funds, and many years, it’s not been enough and education has suffered.”

    I have worked 50+ hour weeks for over 40 years, and am now retired. While I do not have children, I strongly believe that paying taxes for “great” public education is a very important part of my responsibility in investing in the future of our nation and our planet. I have personally paid well over $300,000 in those taxes.

    The problem is:

    The quality of education in Florida is declining, by any measure. Therefore, although hundreds of thousands of my very hard earned dollars have gone into improving the education of our future generations. Throwing money at the situation is NOT working. Obviously, it is not HOW MUCH much money is COLLECTED through taxes and the lottery. . . the success of our educational system depends on how much money gets through to actually “teaching” our students.

    If the additional tax is voted in, of course I will continue to pay my fair share. BUT. . . I hope that the governor, legislature, and school board finally takes notice of the discussions here. They need to realize that WE are paying attention to how our lottery and tax money is being spent and that we find it unacceptable!

    We need a new governor, a new legislature and new school board members!

    • IMO says:

      Sherry you almost understand how State legislatures abuse the educational lottery money but you do not fully comprehend the shell game that state legislatures play in almost every state.

      You will never find any state legislature transferring educational lottery money to their general fund. That would be a scandal that would ruin them.

      So how do they do it without touching the lottery money itself. They cut educational money from other sources. It is not lottery money alone that funds your schools at the state level. So yes your state legislators watch the funds coming in from the lottery very closely. If they see 500 million in education money coming in from the lottery they move other educational money in the same or close to the same amount out of the state budget into their general fund. Thus they create a zero sum game as to funding education.

      So you are totally correct that the lottery money usually never adds to the funding of education. Instead it is used to simply maintain the funding to your schools as other education revenues are done away with and that money going to the general fund.

      Every Governor and State legislature in the nation that has a lottery that is supposed to be funding education has been playing this shell game for years.

      So the next time your Governor or State legislator advised they are cutting education funding you can bet your life they are using the zero sum game as to lottery money. But they will never allow you to accuse them of not spending every penny of lottery earnings on education. They are instead moving other sources of revenue out of education and replacing it with lottery money.

      You cannot blame a local school board for this. You can blame them for mnot fully explaining what your state government has been doing all these years.

    • Helene says:

      Sherry, The school board does not control the lottery money which I agree was and is a downright fraud upon the voters. Also, you need to re-read the article. When our county was flourishing (before the bubble burst) and our district had money being “thrown” at it, we indeed had a top rated school district. My daughters graduated high school during those years and had no problem getting into top colleges. If our Flagler County rating is declining now, it is because of poor funding and definitely a shortened school day!

  6. Joe A says:

    Thank you for writing this, it sums up what the referendum is really about, I voted YES for education, not for any other reason, sour grapes are for another election, not this one, thanks FL !

  7. Realty Check says:

    So you do not think adding an assistant superintendent was a poor move by our board? Sorry I have to disagree with you on this matter. The FCSB does a poor management and worse budgetary job than should be allowed; taxes have gone down only due to the false housing boom that preceded this. They have been getting the extra 25 cents for years and it has not helped to improve the shortage. I would happily pay more taxes across the board if I thought we may get something out of it (community center, aquatic center, anything other than bill paying) our entire government system is broken and throwing more money at it will not fix the problem.

    This board caters to the administration, they make no real cuts at the fattest part of their budget, the administrators in this county, and Volusia has one principal covering two schools. One of the biggest issues we face as taxpayers in this county is, the school district is the counties largest employer and that poses a real issue on the integrity of this vote; as the largest employer they help steer the vote. We need industry (other than Wal-Mart) in our area, if we do not get this we will wither and die as a county, the taxpayers will have to foot every bill we get. The average use of a tax money for each individual tax payer is around $1.20, but industry only uses about 35 per dollar spent, so we are so upside down now it will be tough to recover. I will agree on the tax when they show a real understanding of how to cut a budget starting at the top and working down, until then these 5 are nothing more than political promise breakers.

    • Helene says:

      Realty, please enlighten me on where you moved from to live in Palm Coast (unless you are a native Floridian). I am sooo over people whining about taxes here. Are you all living in la la land?! A 1500 sq ft home such as I live in here and pay under $1000 in taxes would cost me over $6000 in Florida, NY (yes that is correct, Florida – New York :) I am getting a bargain here as is most everybody else who moved from the northeast and northwest. And if you came here to retire, you still owe it to our local society to support education just as those without children in the states you’all moved from had to pay taxes to educate your children.

      • Realty Check says:

        @ Helene, I moved here 21 years ago from NJ, I have school age children that I pay tuition at a private school due to my lack of confidence in the public school system. My home in NJ (we still own) is on the Jersey shore and the taxes are well over 10K, so I know it’s a bargain here. My point is throwing money at a problem is not the answer, if they need to raise taxes then show us what you are using it for, Deputies in school will not curb a shooting. A gunman enters the school with an AK-47 or Bushwhacker with hollow points, the Glock 9 does not stand a chance. We cannot live in a world of what ifs, tragedies happen but not everyday, we need to focus on education and not what if protection. The school board does a poor job in budgetary matters, they need to start the cuts at the top and work thru the budget line by line, that is how you either fix the problem or present the issues to the voter. When they show they made every cut possible and the money is still short they present that to the public and raise the taxes, I pay my property taxes and private tuition, my choice, my problem. I just do not like to pay for incompetence of politicians who refuse to make the hard cuts, renegotiate the teacher’s contract if that is what it takes to fix the issue, but do not beg for money.

  8. Songbird says:

    Thank you Pierre! A great way to articulate almost exactly what I’ve been thinking! :)

  9. Barb says:

    Oh yes..lets give more money to the already GREEDY school system. Lets make sure the kiddies have their new politically correct books like ” Johnnie has two daddy’s”. Or maybe more money so they can arrest my 5 year old child for drawing a picture of a soldier with a rifle in his hands…….NO MORE MONEY !!!

    • A.S.F. says:

      All the money in the world for more education would, unfortunately, not help the likes of those with obviously closed minds, for whom FOX news and Rush Limbaugh are the sole beacons of truth, but it could do a great deal of good for our children. They are our future and worth the investment. Vote YES!

    • IMO says:

      This is Florida not Cuomo’s New York or Christie’s New Jersey.

      Your teachers and school administrators are usually not far left progressive liberals who play tjhe ridiculous issues game.

  10. tampanative says:

    Well said.

  11. Brad W says:

    “we’d still be under-taxed” What should we be taxed in your opinion?

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Brad, federally, returning to Clinton-era marginal tax rates and taxing capital gains and dividends as income would be an excellent start. In the state, repeal all sales tax exemptions, excluding only food and medicines, and return to school boards the power to use the property tax more freely, a power the Legislature took away to pretend to be giving taxpayers a break while forcing local boards to go to referendum every time they need a dime–an irresponsible way to run government in any system. That’s for starters. I have a broader discussion on taxes here.

      • Brad W says:


        I don’t agree, and seem to be confusing issues by lumping everything together. This is still America where federal and states are not always one. You seem to be proposing or advocating for more control in one central government. That is something our soldiers and regular citizens all over the world are laying their lives down for in opposition to. States and local communities have rights to govern themselves to a point for a reason. It might not be perfect but it is the best.

        You are also speaking of directly increasing the cost of living dramatically and seem to be advocating for a “communal pot” system for resources. A “what I earn goes in the pot and we distribute evenly”. Wasn’t that the Soviet Union and what North Korea is today?

        In all honesty, what we just witnessed with this vote is a clear example of why the property should not be able to used more freely. We should not give up our right to voice our opinion. The vote is freedom of speech. In all honesty, what you are proposing is pretty darn scary to say the least.

  12. Mike says:

    I could not agree more, Pierre. Now be prepared to be verbally lashed by those that did not do their homework regarding this referendum, no pun intended. The “No” voters rhetoric seems to be “I am voting this way no matter what anybody else says” with no regard to LOGIC. Some are like babies with balled up fists, pounding the ground, only to take it out, ultimately, on themselves. Because a poorly educated populace is a breeding ground for crime.

  13. jessiek says:

    how about cutting any teacher that does not meet the fidelity of instruction , because there are many . the whole math dept at btms has not met the fidelity of instruction , we need to weed out the “bad” teachers that are not doing there state mandated job and get some teachers who want to ! there are MANY great teachers , but we need to clean house on the bad ones , in stead the county covers it up and they need to budget like a business , why do we need 3 principals ? BUDGET , BUDGET , BUDGET !!!!

  14. emile says:

    I’ll vote “yes” despite my disappointment in our elected school board. They dithered around and were sloppy with their presentation. No wonder many voters voted “no.” Not “no” for education, but “no” for the school board. Sadly, this was an school tax vote, not a school board vote. So the board is still in office whether or not the referendum is passed. But if it fails, our children will be the losers.

  15. Anonymous says:

    no is my vote, manage your money like i have been doing for 30 years. again i say i cannot run to my employer and ask for a raise every time FPL or Brighthouse increases my rates

    • Helene says:

      Anonymous: How about that the voters approved a class size amendment that was NOT funded!! Was the school board supposed to pull a rabbit our of their hat! Ignorant people!!!!

  16. Cypress Grand says:

    I believe that it will come out costing $.14 cents per day per home owner, raising our taxes $54.00 per year for the average homeowner — 14 Cents per day. This is a vote for our children!!

  17. Joe Joe says:

    I voted YES as well. IMO it is a small price to pay for helping our education system. Who cares if you don’t agree on everything the county does, there is no reason to take it out on the kids and their education system! People that vote no are simply wrong. By voting no you hurt the education system. So what if you have no kids in school, it still effects home values. Plus if you vote no some of your family or friends could lose their jobs. So the only reason for voting no is if you are a cheapo and don’t care about your county.

  18. Tonynobaloney says:

    1. insignificance, indifference, inferiority, meanness, ordinariness, unimportance, poorness She lamented the mediocrity of contemporary literature.
    2. nonentity, nobody, lightweight (informal), second-rater, cipher, non-person Surrounded by mediocrities, he seemed a towering intellectual.
    “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius” [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Valley of Fear]
    Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

    “I admit that I myself am far from having a complete command of every topic I touch on, but my knowledge of my subject is always greater than the interest or the understanding of my auditors. You see, there is one very good thing about mankind; the mediocre masses make very few demands of the mediocrities of a higher order, submitting stupidly and cheerfully to their guidance”
    ― Alfred de Vigny, Stello

    It takes a lot less time and most people won’t notice the difference until it’s too late . Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

    I voted NO!

  19. Marjorie says:

    There is no best answer for this situation. My child is at Imagine, but I would love to be able to home school her. I can not rely on this decaying school system to educate my child…and I said, “educate” not test prep.
    Our children are numbers and dollar amounts to them. And yes, voting yes probably won’t solve much because we probably will be having this discussion again a few years later. But voting no is not a vote against the tax but against our children.
    I have heard a lot of parents complain, but not enough at the school board meetings. A lot of questioning, but numbers at PTA meetings are low. Money will not fix this problem.
    Great article Pierre!

    • Angela says:

      I’d gladly go to PTA/PTO Meeting but they are held in the late afternoon while I am at work. Parents working during regular business hours don’t get a chance to participate.

    • Fed Up says:

      Bunnell Elementary School also has issues. Matters have been brought to the attention of Principal Richard Dupont’s attention and to that of local School Board Members with no improvement to this broken system. Teachers don’t communicate with parents, and kids are falling between the cracks. I know of several parents who cannot get calls returned, notes are not responded to, children’s folders are not checked and parents like myself get shuffled from person to person with no resolve. When events are held recogonizing children for the acheivements the parents aren’t properly noticed or even noticed at all! It is disturbing as to how our local schools are being mismanaged!

    • IMO says:

      When a PTA meeting at every school in your community is attended by at least one parent from each parent who has a child in the school you become more than a PTA you become a voting bloc. Only then will the politicians pay any attention to you and fear you.

      When every high school has a Dad’s Club with fathers attending meetings, becoming engaged in raising money for scholarships, providing a presence at every school event such as sporting events, school dances and voicing their concerns as to their son’s educations as one only then will the politicians pay any attention to you and fear you.

      When you show your elected officials you are organized at the local level through your schools and they don’t count 12 heads at a PTA meeting but 500 in each school they WILL START PAYING ATTENTION TO YOU.

      All politics is local. Always has been. But you cannot invite your local State Senator or Congressman or even your Senator to address your PTA meeting or Dad’s Club meeting if the room is not filled to capacity when they walk in. No the politicians count HEADS IN A ROOM and quickly determine if a local group of homeowners and parents are engaged or ambivalent. If they see ambivalence they discount you as a political force immediately. But when a politician especially a local politician walks into a PTA meeting and the leaders of that PTA have parents well educated as to those things that effect their schools and children have the difficult questions ready to ask the politicians THEN THEY WILL PAY ATTENTION AND FEAR AN ORGANIZED GROUP OF LOCAL HOMEOWNERS AND BUSINESS PEOPLE AT THE POLLS.

      That also applies to your School Board. When the combined voting bloc of your communities PTA’s numbers hundreds a better yet thousands of votes everybody who needs those votes will cooperate.

      Once you have the PTA organizations up and running then you start inviting everybody from the Mosquito Control official to your Congressman to come address the group. Don’t worry when their staff gets the invitation that 300 to 500 people would like them come to the local school to address the PTA and Dad’s club members they will show up because to decline your invitation becomes headline local newspaper news.

      Ever wonder why strong PTA’s are usually lead by woman? Because they are usually 53% of the electorate.

      So if you learn nothing else from this referendum I implore you to learn that the best way to organize as a political force to be reckoned with a strong parental involvement in every school in the community and that is done through membership in your PTA.

      However all elected politicians are counting on your ambivalence. That the only time you question them or care about issues is a month before an election. Then it is to late. As the old saying goes “It is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.” Nothing is more “Squeaky” than 300 to 500 Mothers asking a state legislator “What do you mean you voted to cut state funding of our schools?” It does not matter if you are democrat or republican guest speakers at a PTA meeting don’t know your party affiliation when you walk up to the microphone to challenge them as to school funding.

  20. Franklin says:

    Vote no to tax and vote yes to replace school board members

    • IMO says:

      You run next election and I will vote for you. Then come back in a year and tell me how you solved all our problems.

  21. Donna Heiss says:

    Pierre, you and I agree on most things, this however is not one of them. I respect your opinion as always. I have already voted no because of too many unanswered questions. Since this was brought to the table, the school board has been flip flopping on why exactly it is needed for. First was security in light of the Sandy Hook ordeal. When that didn’t fly with taxpayers, it became and issue of adding 45 minutes back to the school day. There were a few other marketing ideas in between that were short lived. Now we have the uniform issue that was flip flopped on. This board does not make sense and has proven it cannot make decisions.

    In my opinion, the only logical vote is no until the board writes in stone exactly what they are going to do with OUR money. Until then, they have free reign,

  22. Bill McGuire says:

    Why the school district’s issues are so volatile-one man’s opinion.
    I have closely followed the business of the school board for going on three years now and have spent many hours talking to senior members of the school administrative staff. Initially, I was flabbergasted, to say the least, at the scope of the school’s business. Having had time to reflect on how the schools conduct their business and, more importantly, what they see as their mission, I offer the following. This message should not be implied as favoring or not favoring the referendum, which is on the ballot today.

    The Flagler County school district adult population is comprised, to a large extent, of senior people, people that have gone through the school system in the place of their origin many years ago and do not understand how the role of the school has changed since people of my generation went to school. Let’s take a look.

    Many of us went to school in a system where there were many children in class. I don’t recall any class from the time of kindergarten through the 12th grade where there were less than 40 pupils and yet I consider that I received a quality education. The organization of the individual school was simple. There were teachers, one principal, an attendance officer and a small staff of 2 to 3 clerical people. High school was the same except you had a different teacher for each subject and, in my high school, there was an assistant principal and a guidance counselor in addition to the aforementioned staff. There was a dress code in my school that was rigidly enforced; discipline in the class was rigidly enforced with very little tolerance for those who disregarded the school rules. In elementary school, bad behavior was rewarded by being sent to the principal’s office where, often times, corporal punishment was meted out. In high school, bad behavior was being sent to the principal’s office, followed by a three day suspension for a second offense and expulsion for a third. There was no school nurse, law enforcement official or paraprofessionals in school at any level.

    Two years ago, I stood at the entrance to Rymfire school and watched as two long lines of students were waiting to see the school nurse, prior to thecommencement of the day. On inquiry, I was informed that the students were being medicated for various issues and that the parents expected the school district to supply their medication. Today’s schools are expected to feed the children-all of them, lest those with the wherewithal to pay for their own lunch consider themselves better than the unfortunates who did not bring any lunch from home. The school is expected to not only educate, but care for the students’ every need. The school is mother, father, policeman, medic,, counselor, psychiatrist and other roles, which necessitate a staff in our school district of over 80 persons who do not directly teach students. Some social critics might say that our school system is a microcosm of a socialistic society. I am not here to pass judgment thereon, but merely to explain a possibility of why people in my generation react harshly to demands from the school board. I doubt if many of the voting population really understand what the school district is attempting to do with the students, much of which is mandated by the state of Florida and it is my opinion that this is why issues such as today’s referendum are so hotly contested.

    • kmedley says:

      “The school is mother, father, policeman, medic,, counselor, psychiatrist and other roles, which necessitate a staff in our school district of over 80 persons who do not directly teach students. Some social critics might say that our school system is a microcosm of a socialistic society. I am not here to pass judgment thereon, but merely to explain a possibility of why people in my generation react harshly to demands from the school board.”

      The more money that is thrown at this problem, the more this scenario will expand, rather than contract. The School Board must be put in the position to account for the tax dollars. They have already identified areas of savings and I would wager there are more to be found. This measure has NEVER been about the kids. It has always been about garnering more revenue from the taxpayers to bail out a budget long ignored for its wastefulness.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Bill, you are absolutely correct that the role of schools has expanded greatly since my generation went to school a generation ago. The school reaches much further into my daughter’s life than it did mine (often against my will as a parent.)

      That said, there are a couple of inaccuracies in what you said that require correcting. The school district DOES NOT provide medication to students or feed all students at no cost regardless of need. The federal school lunch assistance program is available to children who qualify for it based on their family’s income, but anyone who wants to can buy a lunch. And the district’s guidelines for medication administration to students specifically says that “All prescription medications shall be delivered to the office/clinic by the parent/guardian…” and then lists a long list of required information that must accompany the medication.

      The long list of students you saw seeing the nurse first thing in the AM may have been students that showed up sick to school that should not have been sent that were being evaluated by the nurse to be turned around and sent back home. It’s a big problem with students being sent to school sick by parents who work.

      • Michelle says:

        Actually, at the high school and middle school levels, the nurse provides crackers for students with an upset stomach, feminine products for the young ladies, and band-aids for any wounds or scratches, as well as evaluating – like you said.

        Many teachers provide oatmeal and stacks for the kids who come in hungry.

        Teachers don’t want to get into a child’s personal life, but they don’t have a choice because parents have stopped parenting and disciplining their kids. The teachers have to do it in order to maintain an environment to teach.

    • Helene says:

      Bill, beautifully explained. You brought tears to my eyes. I say to anyone who complains about our school system, and especially denigrating teachers, needs to volunteer for one full day in our schools (maybe one day at each type – elementary, middle, high) and see what anyone who works in our schools today has to deal with! Instead of tearing them down, we should heaping praise and thanksgiving in their direction and maybe some financial reward!

  23. Think About it says:

    There is only one way to vote and that is NO…

    If everyone cried every time they wanted a raise, and that’s about what this all boils down to, then nothing would ever get done…The BUCK STOPS HERE…. Grow up..


  24. Gia says:

    POOR administration. I said NO more taxes.

  25. Rollbamtide says:

    I would like to all citizens of Flagler county to pass a 1/2-cent sales tax so I can pay my bills. Thanks so much for voting for this!! If passed I can continue to spend more than I make!!!

  26. Dave says:

    After doing my own homework my vote was Yes , I would rather save my strength to battle with the state at a later date rather than battle with our county that I chose to live in and raise my children.

  27. Charles Gardner says:

    I voted yes with some reservation. I’m not convinced that FCSB is fiscally responsible. But I do know that my kids can’t wear maroon polo shirts to school.

  28. IMO says:

    That’s why it is called a “Public School System” as opposed to a privately owned school system.

    The modern public school system (20th Century) has always been based on a semi socialist model as to funding.

    “Socialism is defined as an economic theory, system or movement where the production and distribution of goods is done, owned and shared by the citizens of a society.”

    Simply change the words “Production of goods” to “Education of a society.” A well educated child is the “Goods” being produced.

    Public schools are OWNED and SHARED by the citizens of our society. Public education was supposed to be maintained as a local public school system with local funding. However both the state and the federal government have been making inroads to remove local control of schools for the past 60 years. They achieved that by introducing state and federal funding into the equation. Once local public schools accepted state and local funding then both the state and federal government applied the “Strings (mandates) to their funding.”

    So now here we sit today with some unelected Czar named Kevin Jennings advising what can be taught, how students must be tested and what a child can eat for lunch.

  29. Shane says:

    The school district did a very poor job on the referendum. First they held it on a Friday, second did a piss poor job of actually telling us why it needed to pass to help the school district, thirdly said if passed it the district wouldn’t have to close down the school and yet Indian Trials Middle School is only half occupied. Therefore they are not ultilizing the building efficiently. The school district is also thinking of consolidating schools within the next 10 years or so, if you know you are not ultilizing schools efficiently by having them half full maybe you should think of consolidating sooner.

    According to a News-Journal article Flagler actually beat the State average for FCAT in most grades in math and reading, so to me the 45 minutes taken out hasn’t hurt as bad as people want you to think. One thing the 45 minutes could do is try to help guard against the kids committing crimes because the parents in theory would be getting home not long after the students if it was put back into the school day.

    I did not vote during the referendum because the people who said voted no kept coming up with false facts and yet the school district did a piss poor job on informing the voters. If the school district comes back later to ask for it and does a better job informing the people I may vote for it next time.

  30. Brad W says:

    Just an FYI for all who are outraged at the “No” vote. You have an opportunity to donate the money directly to the Flagler Youth Orchestra with the money you will not be taxed. Simply visit to donate online. The Youth Orchestra is seeking a goal of $20,000. With 5,970 “yes” votes, that goal and then some should easily be met.

    I voted “no” to the referendum and made my donation. I have also posted this link along with it being on Colleen Conklin’s FB page, yet I do not see the “needle moving”? In fact, I do not see Mrs. Conklin’s name on the list of donors. Or Flagler Live. This is truly an opportunity to put one’s money where there mouth is. It’s for the kids.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols.

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