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Flagler School Tax Fails; “We Will Do Everything Possible to Meet Challenges,” Superintendent Says

| June 7, 2013

The Yes vote doesn't appear to be holding up. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The Yes vote doesn’t appear to be holding up. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 8:11 p.m.

The Flagler County school tax referendum has failed.

With all polling locations reporting, 57 percent of voters had rejected the proposal of a half-mil tax levy, with just 43 percent in favor. The numbers: 7,959 against, 5,970 for. That’s a total of 13,929 ballots counted, for a turnout (so far) of 21 percent.

Flagler County Superintendent Janet Valentine acknowledged that the referendum was lost at 7:50 p.m.

“It’s unfortunate that the vote did not go in the school district’s favor,” Valentine said, “but the community has spoken, the school board will move forward with the recommended reductions, and we will do everything possible to meet the challenges that we’re going to face, staying focused on students’ success.”

That means Everest alternative school will close, the school day in middle and high school will not have 45 minutes restored, and elementary schools will not have deputies posted on their campuses.

Opponents outnumbered proponents in every precinct except in Bunnell, Belle Terre Elementary and Old Kings Elementary, the latter two only barely. The widest margins against the referendum were recorded at the Veterans of Foreign War precinct (64 percent against), Grand Haven (62 percent against) and St. Mary’s Catholic Church (63 percent against).

“The indication is we have to proceed with all of the cuts that we previously identified,” School Board member Colleen Conklin said.

Voters, she said, are “very angry. I think we just have to continue to get the dialogue going, even when they don’t want to talk to us.”


‘Win or Lose, We’ve Lost,’ Andy Dance Says of Tax Referendum as Polls Close

Every election has advocates who usually take up posts at visible intersections and precincts on Election Day, brandishing signs, waving to drivers, passing out last-ditch solicitations for the vote.

Click On:

Not this one. If advocates for the Flagler County School district’s property tax referendum were out and about today, they were rare sights. Even the Flagler County Public Library precinct on Palm Coast Parkway and Belle Terre Parkway, usually the Grand Central of Election Day campaigners, was deserted in early afternoon, with few voters and no campaign volunteers anywhere. School Board member John Fischer was at the VFW precinct on Old Kings Road.

School Board Chairman Andy Dance voted in mid-afternoon at the First Baptist Church precinct near the Government Services Building in Bunnell, but he’d spent most of his day catching up on work, and dropped by the school district offices before he voted for a few conversations, including an interview on the vote.

He knew it was different this time. The last time the school district asked voters to approve a levy—last August, when voters, by a large margin, approved the renewal of a half-cent sales surtax—Dance himself was among the leading advocates for the measure, spending most of that election day under the summer sun at the library’s intersection. Dance supported the current measure, too, but eh’d heard a different tone from voters this time.

“Whether we win or lose, we’ve lost, because I feel we’ve lost some supporters,” Dance said, “and I just think there’s a bad taste from the timing of it, the fact that it’s a special election. So if we win we’ve got a lot of work to do to build that trust back up, and if we lose we obviously have a lot of work to do.”

The board had decided to hold a special election culminating today, at a cost of at least $80,000, because time was running out to ensure that—should the levy be successful—revenue would keep coming in past June 30 (the half-mil levy actually asked voters to renew an existing quarter-mil levy, and approve the addition of an extra quarter mil. The total would have meant an additional cost of 50 cents per $1,000 in a property’s taxable value, or the equivalent of $50 a year on a house valued at $125,000, with a homestead exemption of $25,000. Only $25 of that would be a new tax.)

Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks had warned board members that a Friday election would not sit too well with voters because of its oddity, but the board, out of time, wanted to hold the election after schools’ last day, but before the end of that week. And so Friday it was. There were also six days of early voting at two locations, and voters could cast absentee ballots, more than 7,000 of which had been requested.

A Palm Coast Code Enforcement officer removed one of Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks's signs about today's vote from a right-of-way near Town Center. The officer'[s pick-up truck was full of such signs. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

A Palm Coast Code Enforcement officer removed one of Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks’s signs about today’s vote from a right-of-way near Town Center. The officer'[s pick-up truck was full of such signs. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Weeks appeared to have expended great effort to get the word out for the election, through advertising, county-wide automated calls to registered voters, and planting many more yard signs than the school district’s own political action committee managed to do. The supervisors’ signs did not advocate for or against the vote. They merely advertised the day of the vote in black and yellow, and appeared at innumerable strategic intersections in the county—and would have appeared at many more places in Palm Coast, especially today, had the city not dispatched one of its code enforcement officers to uproot signs from right-of-ways and haul them off in a pick-up truck: one more example of Palm Coast’s oddly misplaced code-enforcement zealotry, even though in this case the signs were tax-supported public service announcements on a vote of great importance to one of the city’s key partners.

“I think it’s all about the special election,” Dance said, referring to the distinctly negative tenor of this election. “If I had to draw a conclusion, I think it leads itself to second-guessing and conspiracy, even though none of it is accurate. There’s reasons for it,” meaning for the Friday election, “but it’s hard to make that point, and I think it’s bad timing. We kind of had the perfect storm of issues surfacing at the same time, which led to the decision to do with the special election.”

The security issues triggered by the Newtown school massacre, the federal sequester, and budget figures released by the state, combined with the latest enrollment numbers, pushed the district to go for the referendum.

The unusual timing was only part of the referendum’s challenges. There was also a different tone to the debate this time.

School Board member Colleen Conklin described it as “frustration and disappointment by those in the community who have built upon a sound-byte context or built upon completely wrong factual information. It’s been a non-stop effort to try to get out there and try to re-correct the record.”

School Board Chairman Andy Dance immediately after voting this afternoon. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

School Board Chairman Andy Dance immediately after voting this afternoon. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The district proposed the referendum with two principal goals in mind: to restore 45 minutes to the school day in middle and high schools, 45 minutes that amounted to almost a month’s worth of instruction and that were eliminated two years ago to save $2 million a year as the state reduced funding. And to install school resource deputies—cops—in all elementary schools. The district said the extra levy was necessary because the state and the federal government had reduced their funding, and local enrollment was declining slightly, adding further pressure on the district’s budget.

Opponents of the levy claimed that the district was making an unclear case for the additional tax so soon after asking voters to approve the sales tax supplement. Questions were raised about the district’s own calculations, which showed that some savings could have been achieved by closing one or two schools, although the full implications of consolidation had not been examined—neither by the district nor by opponents of the levy. Public sentiment had also shifted since the Newtown school massacre last December, diminishing the urgency of needing school cops on every campus, particularly when the costs were taken in consideration.

Opponents especially used the district’s series of budget debates, when it hashed out $1.8 million-worth of cuts, against it, as discussions intended to be as transparent as possible, revealing where cuts could be made, became grist for criticism over the board’s management. Dance said the criticism cherry-picked items out of their context—as with consolidation, which would have had far-reaching effects that go beyond monetary savings. Still, he was already analyzing the nature of the debate to forge a path after the vote, and for the next five years.

“The lesson learned is,” he said, “we may not have been on the path soon enough—is stakeholder involvement.” Dance said the district’s finances are extremely complex, and the debate just ended revealed to what extent it is poorly understood by the community at large.”

A discarded sign at Buddy Taylor Middle School. A series of such signs proved not to be a hit with car riders at schools, where the signs had been positioned for a few days. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

A discarded sign at Buddy Taylor Middle School. A series of such signs proved not to be a hit with car riders at schools, where the signs had been positioned for a few days. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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126 Responses for “Flagler School Tax Fails; “We Will Do Everything Possible to Meet Challenges,” Superintendent Says”

  1. Nancy N. says:

    This makes me sick that the people of this community are willing to sell kids like mine up the river to be spiteful and cheap.

    I’d like to say to all the retirees who just voted no – Think about this the next time you come begging for money for services for your demographic and a lot of the younger voters in town say “not my problem.” You set the precedent.

    • Medman says:

      Nancy its not the the retirees voted this down is the the school system did not save when times were good. I myself did vote no and I’m not a retiree. This county takes and takes. And we do not need cops at elementary schools. If the tax was pasted I’m sure that the school system would of found some way to wasted it. Palm Coast is a retiree committee lets remember that…….

    • debbieqd says:

      This retiree voted “no” and hated doing it because of the children. But, we have no intention of bailing out the Florida Tea Partiers who are damaging not only our educational system, but all of our democratic systems. If Floridians want right-wing extremists in office, then they should live with the consequences. And, now they will.

    • IMO says:

      So the children of our elementary schools will now only be provided bus service if they live 2 miles away from their assigned schools.

      [IMO, that is not the case. Reducing the 2-mile limit was not part of the coming year’s cuts.–FL]

    • Carl says:

      It is a shame that education is not a priority in Flagler County. For those that have kids that are grown up and have their own kids….somebody paid for your kids when you were a young parent, and it was not you. It was the older generation. Kids are the future, I guess they are not that important as far as some citizens are concerned.

    • IMO says:

      Nancy N…but these people will still want your children to volunteer their time in community service. Oh please volunteer to help us poor dependent retirees. Please give us another 25,000 hours in free services.

      Time to tell our children that “Volunteerism” is not for any services to those over the age of 62. Instead volunteer your time at youth centers, teaching kids to read or with their math or at an animal shelter. .

    • No no Nancy says:

      Nancy I guess you are addressing me. I am 42 and a member of this community who voted NO to this extreme tax increase. I do not think that you understand this problem. We have to STOP or government from spending so much of our money. I can promise you this…if the county tries to raise our mileage rate to offset this clear vote., we will then vote them out of office. Thank you fellow citizens for sending a very clear message!

      • really?? says:

        No no Nancy , ” extreme tax increase “. REALLY ???!!!

      • Anita says:

        This mantra urging voters to stop government from spending “so much” money is a straw argument. That you are able to construct and correctly punctuate coherent sentence unlike some of the posters on this thread, is due to a system which provided people who took the time, trouble and taxes to educate you. Will you lash out against taxes allocated for a larger jail or higher police salaries? Do you complain to the Chamber of Commerce when they offer tax abatements to businesses to lure them to Flagler County, when those perks do nothing to broaden our tax base? What company’s going to want to relocate to an area where public schools are mediocre, at best? And what of the special needs kids, whose school will close? Will it matter to you that they become drop-outs? Believe me, the half mil increase won’t hurt your budget nearly as much as having your taxes feed, house and clothe people who can’t get work because they were not properly prepared by an under financed school system. I will vote against anyone who votes against the future of our kids, and I condemn you for your fiscal myopia.

      • Emily says:

        I agree that the problem is in spending. The cuts need to start at the top of the ladder and the citizens in this community need to start looking at salaries. Why are our school borad members paid? Why are there so many administrators at High Schools? Are all the positions needed in management areas?
        Do we need an assistant superintendent? (who was hired after cutting the budget and elimanating low paying positions)

    • here says:

      Not everyone who voted is retired, some of us actually have kids in the “system”. If the school administration was not quite so top heavy, and the SB stopped voting themselves raises, and I really believed the money was going to the kids, it would have been different. I think the entire public education system is sickening (from the federal government to the state to the local level) with all the politics that go on. Education is NOT about the kids anymore, it is about the testing, and the company’s who make money from it, it is about the salary’s of the employees, absolutely important, and about meeting ridiculous and often unrealistic standards. There is so much waste in the schools, quick example, the 2 text books that sat in my house all year collecting nothing but dust, (no assignments required their use) then there are the 2 “workbooks” that are virtually empty of pencil markings, again no assignments. I love the waste of the Skyward system, 7 classes and not one teacher was able to keep the records current. Then there is the wasted time of the school uniform issue, let’s not even go there. This is just one student, one school year. Multiply this by the number of students in the district and there are tens-hundreds of thousand of wasted dollars. Getting involved is useless, the education system is like the thin blue line of the police. If you don’t agree with their agenda you are simply told “you don’t understand the full scope of education, because you are not in education”. Three more years and I am done with the school system, I can only pray things will change for my grandchildren!

    • Bob says:

      It is a sad day when any service for children is cut. Please do not lump all retirees into one bunch, I am one, and voted in support of this. I always have said, the children are our future.

    • Shark says:

      Pay for your own kids needs!!!

      • Nancy N. says:

        The public school system, by its very design, is intended to draw from the entire community’s resources to make an investment in the next generation by educating them. This has long been deemed to be an important public function, just like fixing our roads and paying for police and fire, that should be paid for by the entire community for the good of the entire community.

  2. Carl says:

    The school board needs to re evaluate how they allocate funds. We all have to initiate and abide by a budget in our personal finances throughout the fiscal year, and I can’t imagine why the school board should be any different. If our households’ income comes up short, or close to the red- or in the red, and our expenditures are more than expected, then we need to tighten our belts somewhere and revisit our strategy. We can’t simply ask the taxpayers to foot the bill and bail us out- even if it’s supposedly just equivalent to the price of a dinner. This Flagler County school board needs to take a basic economics course – one that will teach elementary money handling. And I should probably mention that I voted NO, and I feel this way even with three children in the Flagler school system.

    • RC says:

      Flagler County Schools have had to cut expenditures for five straight years. We make do with so little and it’s about to get worse because not only did we not get the .25 mill, we also lost the existing one.

      As a teacher in Flagler County I feel like I just got punched in the stomach. We take care of your kids all day long, in addition to educating them. Your lack of help is incredibly frustrating. I read comments of people on here and I see their last names, I teach your kids. I will never hold your views against them but your grudge against the school board will effect your children in a negative way.

      However, ultimately the blame lies with Janet Valentine. The way this vote was put together and the selling points they tried to make were awful and I understand why that infuriated people. The Sandy Hook incident should never have been brought up. I mentioned a couple months ago on one of these articles that this .25 mill had very little to do with additional security, it would have been a very small fraction of the mill. A lot of people were confused as to how adding 45 minutes would cost $2 million, that’s because, for whatever reason, they didn’t want to tell you. What our leaders failed to tell the people of Flagler County is that two-thirds of the additional revenue would have been spent on hiring additional middle and high school teachers. This would have given us our planning period back.

      I suppose they thought people wouldn’t like the idea of more teachers, because more teachers is such a bad thing, smh. We support the small businesses of this city, we buy houses, we give back to our community in every possible way. Why is hiring teachers such a bad thing? The money wasn’t going to administrators, it wasn’t going to the school board (which should be a voluntary position), it was going to hire more teachers.

      So here we are, left with another year without a planning period. I know many people don’t care about us but we care about your children, we wouldn’t have chosen our profession if we didn’t. And the fact of the matter is, we are better teachers when we have 45 minutes in the middle of the school day to adjust plans, grade papers, attend parent teacher conferences and develop better ways to teach your kids.

      We will continue to persevere and do our best to educate our young minds but a little bit of help from the parents and grandparents of our students would have been much appreciated.

  3. Rocky Mac says:

    I am impressed with the voter turnout.

  4. Jason says:

    If we get 14,000 voters to vote and the cost of this election is running around $80,000 (Maybe more), then we are spending About $5.71 per vote! That $80K is our tax dollars at use and now it is gone for a bummer of a cause. Way to go School Board. Another failure at tax payers expense. Now please go back and work out your budget numbers and quit asking for more money.

  5. PC Dad says:

    Time for Valentine to go. She isn’t part of the solution. She knew two schools were not necessary yet she said nothing. And Dance can go too. All he cares about is the next election. Only cares about his business buddies, not the kids. Fischer as well obviously for his sloppy family problems. Shame on them and shame on those that don’t care about the kids. This is NOT a retirement community anymore. It is a commuter town with lots of children that deserve to get a quality education, not half baked like many in this community would have. Shame.

  6. Anon1 says:

    Looking at the supervisor or elections web site it appears the No’s have it.

    Those who voted no won’t have that luxury with the county and city of palm coast. We will just have to sit back and take what the county commissioners and the city of palm coast town council levy. Both have been crying broke in order placate the citizens before the tax increase. I

    This tax should not have passed even if it is looked at in its most favorable light.
    One reason is the salaries paid to administrators. This county is not prosperous, not even close. For these administrators to be paid similar to Volusia County which is more prosperous is outside of reason. One always hears the argument we pay the same as other counties of similar size. Stop using the word size as the equalizer or justification and start using the word prosperity or prosperous. Wages in this area are low, and will stay low, at least for the rank and file, unless you work in government or the school system and are a middle manager or higher. So pay people accordingly. I am in the technology field. If I asked for a salary of $100,000 I would be laughed out of the workplace. Even though I made a considerable salary last year I had to leave my home and work in another state to do it.

    Next I cannot believe that no one knew that enrollment in two schools was at such a low level that justification could have and should have been made to close them. What the H— were these people doing? Doesn’t anyone know of something called a trend? Doesn’t anyone report each month the number of students in each school? And these people get paid over $30,000 a year for a part time job. And the best they could do was advocate a now defunct uniform policy. Holy cow! These are marginal administrators at best.
    Job growth and upward mobility in this county is flat , wages are low, home values are down but the cost to live keeps going up.. And these folks wanted another tax increase , and when all their arguments failed they reverted back to “it’s for the children”.

    Can anyone say term limits for the school board and county commission?
    Palm Coast has them, although a couple of people found a way to get through a loop hole that allowed them to build a mail box and camp out in the position.

    Where is Dennis McDonald?

  7. Mike says:

    Now the 5 members need to be voted out, and the supers job should be under direct scrutiny for allowing a position with a six figure salary to be created (Assistant Superintendent) This should be a clear message to those in power that you will not spend more than you have and do a poor job.

  8. Marvelous says:

    It would have passed if the money was going to Medicare.

  9. D. F. A. says:

    Hey, the people have spoken, but it is uninformed people that hold power. Perfect example is Mike. To this day he contends they created a 6 figure salary for Asst. Super. The position has been there since Dr. Corley was around. Janet Valentine left it vacant for 3 years and only filled it when her daughter almost lost her life in a crash. IGNORANCE SUCKS!

    I hope you folks enjoy your savings.

    • Realty Check says:

      DFA, a personal emergency does not constitute a major expense at the taxpayers cost, the FMLA (family medical leave act) is used when a person has a personal emergency. The position was left open for 3 years and obviously it was not needed, the fat has to be trimmed from the budget. This tax was already in place and (at 25 cents) and the district was still not making ends meet, throwing money at a problem is not the answer. The 5 school board members need to trim the budget from the top, not the bottom, they are a disgrace to the position they hold and now need to go. If you leave the same people in place what will we accomplish, nothing. The next 5 may be better or may be worse, but we cannot risk leaving the 5 proven failures in place. A message of “we will not let you do as you please” must be sent, elected officials are in place to do what is best for the taxpayers not their own initiatives (or in this case that of a over-bloated administration) sorry but I would gladly pay more in taxes if the money was wisely spent. I pay my share of taxes plus tuition at a private school because I do not see FCSD doing an adequate job in education our children.

  10. tulip says:

    I want to thank Flaglerlive for keeping us updated, because I just checked the Election website AGAIN for the millionth time and the results are not there.

  11. Ron Hubbard says:

    The sensible citizens have spoken LOUDLY and clearly.

    Hopefully, the politicians and oily council people have heard the people and will understand htat their progressive liberal free spending and waste days are OVER. They will now learn how to become efficient and prudent with taxpayer money. No more robbing the public treasury.

    Also, will someone please wake up Pierre Tristam and inform him that he and his obsessive spending progressive liberals have been PUT DOWN forceably and firmly.

  12. Joe A says:

    If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
    ~Benjamin Franklin
    14 Cents a day per home owner, how tragic…

  13. Think About it says:

    Thank you voters!

  14. Mike says:

    @ Nancy N< nothing to do with your kids, this is about the mismanagement of funds by public officials, they have had the 25 cent tax for years and now they are still broke. Do you really believe that throwing more money at them will fix any financial issues? I pulled my kids out of the FCSD due to their lack of trying to educate a special needs student. I made the choice to sacrifice my own money to pay for a private education; best choice we ever made. They need to make hard cuts at the top level, start with the six figure assistant superintendent, in Volusia ( a district twice our size) they have principals running two schools, have we made any strives such as these? no because our 5 school board members are worried about the next election and not being backed by the administrators in the school district. Our school district is this counties largest employer, with out them the board members will not get funds and support; it is a catch 22 in this county.

    Your and my kids will be fine, the real education that they get will be at the next level, they will more than likely never live in this area again any way. What is there for a 22 year old college graduare to come back too? there are no real jobs in this area. You see we only rent our education system here in Flagler to our children, this will not be a multi generational community unless things change. Things will never change if we have the same people who are unable to balance a budget and make the tough cuts foe the real good of the community. I would gladly pay 10% more a year in taxes if I felt it would create economic development or it would not be wasted by a broken system of todays government. The 5 members of the FCSB have been doing a poor job since Dr. James Guines left, he was the last voice of reason who truly cared about the good of the children. Dr, Guines donated almost his entire salary back to help the schools, these 5 voted themselves raises, I have no respect for any of them and look forward to there being voted out one by one.

    • Nancy N. says:

      ” this is about the mismanagement of funds by public officials, they have had the 25 cent tax for years and now they are still broke.”

      The district has become broke with the .25 mil in place because their other sources of funding have dried up, from the state and federal level, and because the tax base that is paying that .25 mil has shrunk due to the real estate crash so they aren’t collecting as much money from the .25 mil. They simply are NOT collecting as much money as they were 5 years ago and are educating nearly as many students and dealing with some expensive mandates given to them by the state. The math is simple – less revenue + more expenses = broke.

      • Realty Check says:

        @ Nancy N, show me the real cuts by the board, line by line, the mandates are just like in business cut the budget or your gone. Government should not be any differant, wasteful speding is no longer tolerated, this is why the IRS and others are in the hot seat for the same reason

  15. Nancy says:

    All the cuts are aimed at the schools and programs but not once has it ever come up to cut the salaries of the school board members. While we are at it why do we have a superintendent (of what 10 schools) that makes 6 figures when we have teachers that are being let go? Guess we know where their priorities are, in their own pocketbooks! Someone please tell me why we pay the school board? I bet we could save A LOT of money if we didn’t pay them salaries, provide them benefits, and provide retirement for them…don’t they all have other jobs anyway?

  16. Students' Mother says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Carl, Rocky Mac, and Mike. I have students in our schools and also voted NO. Of course I support the students, but I have concerns about administration and budget management. Flagler County Schools appear to have way too many district and school administrators — being VERY well compensated.

    Here’s an idea . . . if the money itself (proposed to be about $50 per household) was not the issue for you, please consider a donation to a school group of your choice — a team, a performing or visual arts group, an honor society, a service organization, etc. I’m pretty sure you can mail or drop off a check to any school for a specific student group to use. What a way to show that our community DOES support the students!

  17. DP says:

    Let’s stop making this about the Kids. Have we all forgotten how are money was misspent, or how the board failed to provide enough information to justify this? It sends a resounding voice that we the Tax payers are tired of Lies, Misguidance, or just poor leadership from our elected officials. The Kids will continue to be taught just like they were before and long after this vote. My only words are School board members your time on the board may be limited, you are a joke and a poor excuse of leaders. Let’s lay the blame solely where it should be on the elected “SCHOOL BOARD” members, and not on the tax payers, we are tired of having things choked down our throats
    @ Nancy N, I’m not retired, couldn’t afford it if I wanted to because of the high taxes, no kids were sold up the river like you indicate. I have children in the schools as well, Just tired of having and hearing exscuses after excuses why they don’t have any money, Neither do I and all I ever here is tighten your belt and live within your means, so the school board needs to as well.

  18. Fed up and disgusted says:

    Dear misguided, out of touch majority who defeated this referendum,
    Congratulations for your lack of support for the future of our community and Flagler County students. The next time you complain that you are not getting the same quality of service you received “Up North” in a store or restaurant remember that your short sightednesss is partially to blame. How would you feel if similar decisions were made in the’ school districts where your grandkids are enrolled?

    • Realty Check says:

      @ Fed up, are you saying we are educating our children to work as waiters? The next wave of education they receive is where they will gain all their knowledge. Besides do you think these kids will be able to come back to this community to work after college? What do they have to come back to, Wal-Mart or a restaurant? Misguided is you, this was not about taking money from the kids; it’s about the mismanagement of funds associated with our children’s education. They already had a tax in place and it did not help, so throw more money at it and see if that helps, ridiculous. I would gladly have paid an extra dollar if I felt the money would have been spent on the actual education plan of children, but all it would have done was add security and more administrators. Flagler needs to take a lesson from a district twice its size like Volusia, one principal covers 2 schools, administrative cuts across the board; you do not spend what you do not have.

      The you were wrong attitude has to stop, we all need to work together to elect a new school board that will make had cuts and tougher decisions. I for one feel the school board should only be minimally compensated (7-10K a year) to help cover their costs and that is it. I have been paying private tuition for the past few years plus taxes, I choose to leave the FCSD due to their poor performance (my choice) They always throw out the A rated school BS, they are in an F rated state, I believe FL is in 46th place in the education race, thank God for Alabama and Mississippi.

      • Helene says:

        Gee wiz Realty! Do you think it could be because Alabama and Mississippi pay even less in taxes than Florida?! Think you need a “realty check”. AL ranked #3 in property tax rate and MS #8. Our taxes are low, but fortunately or unfortunately they didn’t make the lowest 10.

  19. kmedley says:

    Flagler County School Board… can you hear us now?! Take this time to go back to your budget process, identify more areas of savings, implement changes that demonstrate fiscal responsibility, and tighten your belts just like everybody else is in this county.

    Voters stay strong. The County will be the next group coming hat in hand to the taxpayers. They face a similar situation and there will be a referendum asking for a tax increase. The voice of the voters has been awakened and it is loud. Let’s not allow it to become a whisper.

  20. Rocky Mac says:

    Mike, are you inferring that the teachers or admins are doing a poor job? or are you referring to the budget?

    • Realty Check says:

      @ Roc, the administartors and the budget, the teachers will be the scapegoats for the admins to blame as to why they are broke.

  21. Justin says:

    Yay, thank god it didn’t pass. this money would have just went to the school bord anyways!

  22. Agnese says:

    Lets get rid of the many layers administration and there will be money for the children. It’s time to make our elected officials accountable for how they waste taxpayers money.

  23. An Educated Citizen and Teacher says:

    I am devastated by the election results. As a teacher, mother, and human I cannot believe the ignorance of the voters. They have not “shown the school board a lesson.” They have taken opportunities and chances away from this county’s children. Sounds a lot like cutting off your nose to spite your face to me!

    • Barbara says:

      I think people are beginning to wake up and saying we’ve had enough. Happy but surprised at the results.

  24. Not on my dime says:

    Het there Nany N. I voted NO! I am a 44 year old professional who pays a lot of money to send my child to a great private school. I have a doctorate in education and I paid my own way through college using the GI bill. I graduated from a Chicago High school that was ranked very low BUT I was taught by my loving parents at a very young age that I am responsible for my future. I make over $200k a year and I paid 10’s of thousands of dollars in property and income taxes last year. I own 3 properties in this community. No one gave me a free ride. And guess what, I am a disabled veteran having been shot 2 times in the service of my country. My mother glad 5 children and we learned to work! Nany N. and fellow criticizes I want nothing from you other than to stop reaching into my pocket to pay for your increases in spending. I have scraped and earned my way. Why don’t you do the same?

    • Sad :( says:

      BS, the GI bill is tax funded. The military is TAX funded. I guess you think you’re exempt from taxes now that you’ve arrived at making 200k a year. You were helped along the way at tax payer expense.

    • Helene says:

      Not on my dime: Really! You paid income taxes in Florida? Please explain. You have 3 properties in this community? Well then you bet your sweet ass you should contribute to the education of the children of this county. Compared to where you came from, you a paying a comparable small sum. Hmm, what what you pay on said 3 properties in Chicago?

  25. luv2swim says:

    to Nancy N or any other person who believes it was just the retirees that voted no…. you are wrong. I am not retired nor are many of my friends… and no one wants to sell your kids up the river to be spiteful & cheap. No one knew which way this vote was going to go.

  26. IMO says:

    Don’t look now but the results of today’s tax vote as to funding the school system is already being posted on all the national real estate sites. Families with children being warned to avoid Palm Coast area. Now property values will drop but be happy all you No Voters that will mean you will pay less taxes and dig the hole you are putting this community in even deeper.

    Now post back to me about taking basic Economics 101.

    We do live in an information age and “Bad News” travels instantaneously. I predict housing values will start being posted on the real estate sites as trending downward in Palm coast within the next month.

    • Realty Check says:

      @ IMO, a real-estate professionals opinion, now you won’t sell as many houses, Palm Coast has ben a scam in the housing market since 2003, the bottom dropping out was due to inflated pricing by agents, banks and investors. Voting no will have no major impact on how people view coming here, some will see it as lower taxes and want to come, others may not. The bottom line is letting a school board waste more money is not the answer, they got greedy looking for an easy fix to a real problem and lost the confides of the taxpayers. They had the 25 cent tax, not enough so double it that is not how the real world works, this is about the mismanagement of public funds. Sorry you feel that we have turned this county into a place no one will want to live, but if the taxes increase and there is nothing here to show for it, won’t that have the same affect? Until this counties leaders learn that with out industry we will go bankrupt sooner that later, a residential tax payer uses about $1.20-40 for every dollar they pay in (roads, emergency service, and so on) industry only about 30-40 cents. As you can see the tax burden with out industry will eventually crush us or bankrupt us, the counties largest employer cannot be its own School district, sorry but the facts are what they are, the board needs to go and the real cuts need to start.

      • IMO says:

        Duh real estate professional are you reading the national news. This Immigration Reform legislation contains family re-unification in it. Every illegal that will be granted Amnesty will be allowed to immediately bring his/her family into this nation.

        There are an estimated 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants in this nation. So pick a number to multiply that by when they are allowed to bring their spouses, children, brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents into this nation.

        So let’s just stick to the “Government Number of 11 million that has not changed since the end of the Clnton Presidency. For some unknown reason they must thin k the “11 million” number is lucky or something.

        Now noting the history of past massive immigration into this nation where families followed those who came first let’s say for every illegal 6 additional relatives arrive. You’re at 77 million new people in this nation almost immediately. My guess is more like 100 million plus.

        Of course the government crashed the housing market. They are hoping to need apartments and housing for 100 million new people. They are also going to need jobs and schools for those new people.

        So why don’t you wake up. When John and Maria with their 3 American born children tell John’s brother to come under this immigration reform and join them the brother and his wife and 4 kids are simply going to walk across the border and be granted instant legal status. Heaven help us if John and Maria have 10 brothers and sisters each with 4 children.

        There have been 3 massive immigration flows into this nation since the 1840’s. We are about to live through the 4th wave of massive immigration into this nation. We have no choices left. The failure of the Baby Boomers to keep the birth rates above 2 children per family as they say is their “Chickens Coming home To Roost.” The nation cannot survive without this massive immigration as the 70 million Baby Boomers begin their way into eternity. They have to be replaced and that is going to start now.

        Now if you think the new immigrants are going to gravitate to the failing cities you are fooling yourself. The illegals have been skipping the cities and migrating directly to the suburbs since the 1990’s. They go where there are jobs. To avoid any penalties the corporations have been using them through sub contractors for years.

        Try waking up to what is going on around you. Your own allegedly TEA Party Conservative Senator is a big part of what is about to happen.

    • Jerry says:

      I wonder if a tally of all the parents that live in rentals, that have scores of kids in schools that do not pay any tax would vote not to an increase if they had skin in the game… how many of you are out there. If you want your kids in schools here pay a tuition on each child you have. I have paid the taxes here with no kids in school. Never once have I complained but will now continue to vote no until All parents pay the price.

      • Jonathan says:

        Everyone pays, as they should. Landlords pay property taxes, and pass their costs on to renters.

      • IMO says:

        Jerry….Of course renters pay school taxes through their rent. Somebody has to own the home they are renting and keep the taxes up to date. Now imagine if nobody was renting those homes. They would not be generating any taxes as they slip into foreclosure.

        I find your post insulting to anyone renting a home in Palm Coast. Their names may not be on nthe deed but they are paying the taxes on the home they occupy.

      • Helene says:

        Jerry: The landlord who owns the house pays the property tax but the renter pays the landlord the rent which is established by taking into account what the property taxes are on the house. So therefore the renter does “have skin in the game”.

  27. Marc says:

    I hope everyone enjoyed their night at the bar… That’s what you saved…

  28. Voted NO says:

    Good job Kimberle Weeks! You did a good job-Again.

  29. laura yorio says:

    I too am sickened by the communities failure to see the big picture. The message they are sending is loud and clear , you do not care about the children in this county. I cant believe that the voters who opposed this could be so cheap. The amount per household was so small. You sacrifice our children’s education for less then most of you spend on a dinner out ! But remember , these children will one day be the leaders of the community.
    The extra 45 minutes for the middle and high school would have had a great impact on these children. Perhaps, if the voters who opposed had children still in school they would have a different opinion.
    I agree with Nancy N. maybe next time when the vote benefits you , the young voters will remember when you sold their educations down the river.
    Communities that don’t value education, get what they deserve. !

  30. teacher says:

    this was an additional $1.99 per month per household. Now we will have convicted felons who hate school and authority, in the same classroom as young men and women that want to learn. I was at the VFW today and i knew this was going to be voted down, a lot of sour and grumpy wrinkled faces drove in and out of the place and did not make eye contact. We can give to the local food banks, we can give to the lazy people that beg for money, we can buy cat food for all the cats that run wild in Palm Coast, but we can’t give $1.99 a month to something like the future of our country. For those who have children in school and didn’t vote, SHAME ON YOU, and please don’t email your kids teachers to moan and groan next school year.

  31. Will says:

    Going forward, I think it might be worth comparing salaries of the top employees of our Flagler Schools with the salaries of other forward looking growing counties in Florida. I don’t think we’re far out of line, but I haven’t seen the numbers.

    It just seems that there are a lot of people who look at a “six figure salary” and immediately see something wrong with it. The district has about 1,800 employees. What would they pay the top leaders of a corporate venture which has all the obligations our district has? I would guess that a few employees at the top might make more than our leaders do now.

    I think there’s a bad case of salary envy in this county. “If I can’t have it, neither can they – And – they’re bad people for taking all that money.”

    Sure – some will say that tax dollars shouldn’t be used for such salaries. So as someone said elsewhere tonight – today Flagler says – don’t aim for the best – Aim for Average!

  32. Local supporter says:

    Our school board members and superintendents are doing a fabulous job as well as our principals and teachers. Yes, schools are costly to run but the teachers and buildings are what teach the future of our country. Services of any kind cost money and are costly to run and maintain. Our school system has been tightening its belt for the past 5 years. You can only lose so much weight until you’re barebones and cant function. The state sets the money that the school board can use as well as how local tax dollars are spent. This money can only be spent in a specific manner which leaves the ability to have extra academic/activities nonexistent. Being innovators and leaders in the world takes time, energy, and money. It is not the job of the teachers to take their salaries and spend them on the students. It is the job of everyone to give back to make a better future. The unfortunate thing is the teachers, administrators, and students(as they always do) will continue to trim and give their students an awesome learning environment regardless of the $2 a month that the 7,959 voters can not seem to find in their budget. Teachers and administrators please ignore the negative remarks towards the selfless job you do day in and day out. People who have not taught will never be able to understand the sacrifice of a teacher. Keep up the good work even though the community does not feel the expense is worth the inconvenience, our students, and promoting a school district that is competitive with the rest of the state.

  33. Tonynobaloney says:

    This certainly does send a clear message directly to the School Board members as well as the Superintendent and her underlings.

    Apparently. they still don’t get it from their comments on why the referendum failed. The voters had the wrong factual information or we poorly understood what we voted for. It’s this same audacity and contempt for the average voter which overcame a well placed referendum costing taxpayers 80k. Yes, the community has spoken but the individual voter has too.

    I think it was the idea of being snookered not just by a mother hiring self protection for her daughter but, by the Sheriff, Tax Collector, The Superintendent and the School Board all jumping on the bandwagon without giving serious thought to the intelligence of the average taxpayer who has the final say.

    Is it any wonder we felt slighted and our opinions meant nothing. We were asked to go to the School Board and to one of Colleen Conklin’s weekly meetings. For what, to get shouted down or perhaps mentally overpowered to vote yes against our steadfast principles.

    You forget, when the Superintendent went before the School Board and mentioned closing schools which only opened up further scrutiny of local enrollment declining which added to even more collusion and incompetence.

    Colleen Conklin described it as “frustration and disappointment by those in the community who have built upon a sound-byte context or built upon completely wrong factual information. It’s been a non-stop effort to try to get out there and try to re-correct the record.”

    And, Andy Dance remarked, “The lesson learned is,” he said, “we may not have been on the path soon enough—is stakeholder involvement.” Dance said the district’s finances are extremely complex, and the debate just ended revealed to what extent it is poorly understood by the community at large.”

    A lot of credit on this referendum goes to Flagler Live for it’s in-debt reporting on the issues. The average working voter didn’t need to go to School Board meetings and I’m sure many voters made their decisions not only on what Flagler Live reported but on the commentary by those in the community.

    I do believe that there is a strong message being made by today’s vote and that it also signals that changes will result in future elections in Flagler County to come.

    The clear message is that you underestimated the Flagler County voter’s intelligence.

  34. Richard Calderwood says:

    Now that the voters have spoken and expressed their disapproval of the School Committee’s hysteria,
    maybe now they should be replaced with responsible citizens who won’t talk down to the voters. Lets see how they recoup the $80,000 they wasted on this ill conceived debacle.

  35. biker says:

    We need a true line item review of the school districts budget. There is still a huge amount of unnecessary fat and patronage jobs that need to be cut. Enrollment is down expenses need to follow suit

  36. Sadie Sue says:

    For me this was a hard vote. I believe in education. I taught at a public University and was a victim of budget cuts. For the record, I do not have children. If I did, my vote would’ve been the same. I am a home owner and pay my share of property taxes. Having said all of that, I believe this was the correct outcome.

    The school board needs to start looking forward with budgeting instead of one school year at a time. Fiscal responsiblity is required. I voted to support the 1/2 cent sales tax for education in November. I would have voted for a 2 or 3 cent sales tax. But to come back barely 7 months later and ask for a property tax increase at the cost of our tax dollars ($80,000 or so) to pay for this “election” is irresponsible.

    I believe that education is the key to our future but I also believe that our elected officials need to do their job. Clearly the school board has failed miserably at this.

    Perhaps we voters need to start seriously thinking about the members of this school board and whether or not they deserve the salary they are paid.

  37. Ogreagain says:

    I think the county and the city should take notice, the free ride is over. you take money in taxes, the add the red light camera cash cow, then tried to add an extra tax. I think you can do better with what you get. Let the sheriff’s office see the writing on the wall. we’ll spend money, but we don’t need you to waste it.

  38. Sad says:

    I agree that the school board should be more responsible, but you also have too look at the facts, the county is required by federal law and state laws to provide certain services and then the money that is normally set aside for those services is cut. The county still has to provided them or pay fines…Volusia county just went through this and paid heavy because they tried to cut corners. The thing that saddens me the most though is demand to educate students, but then refusing to provided the finances needed in order to educate them, 45 minutes may not be a lot to most people but that time adds up. As the state and federal government continue to put pressure on raising the bar of education, we as a county are tying teachers hands by preventing them from having the contact time with the students necessary to really teach them. I agree the school board needs some serious change, but it still breaks my heart that the county has chosen to take it out on the students rather then proving their point in another way.

  39. Flagler County Sucks says:

    First of all I would like to give a huge shout out the “Palm Coast Observer” and all of it’s idiots, for a bang up job of getting the information regarding this referendum WRONG! I’d like to also thank the Flagler County School Board for their mediocrity and lack of insight. To the retired demographics that ultimately defeated this referendum, I am beyond enraged at the outcome; and I say to all of you old and dying; you should thank whatever god you pray to that I do not have any political muscle, as I would do everything in my power to remove all senior benefits, discounts and anything related to 55 or older in this county, in fact I would attempt to tax you twice as often, twice as much. You all make me sick and I hope each and everyone of you burn in hell, and may each of your offspring, become bankrupt and destitute and have to move back home with you until such time as you grace the world with your departure. No I am not a teacher……I am a student!

    • IMO says:

      First of all Student you should know better than to have a message board ID such as you choose. Your Teachers taught you better than that as to social media sites.

      Now as to retired Baby Boomers. Yes some but not all are extremely greedy people. Then again others are simply scared. They were taxed out of their homes in other states. They did everything they were supposed to do. Worked hard. Paid their mortgages. Paid their taxes. Educated their children often at great sacrifice and then when it was time to retire they found themselves paying huge property and school taxes on their homes. So they were forced to sell and move to Florida.

      So it is not so much many of them are greedy many are simply scared. So,let me teach you something right here and now. The Baby Boomers paid 17 trillion dollars into the SS Trust Fund. Numerous Congresses and Presidents borrowed that money for other reasons promising to pay it back. As you probably read this government is now 17 trillion dollars in debt on top of the 17 trillion they borrowed from the SS Trust Fund on top of trillions in unfunded liabilities such as Medicare, Medicaid and other things they promised.

      It’s going to up to your generation to regain control of your government which today is totally out of control. As of today you already owe $53,000 in taxes to this nation’s trillions in debt and you are still in school.

      So let your lessons begin right here. Never trust a politician especially one who is promising you free stuff. Nothing in this life is free.

    • DLF says:

      A very sad and sorry one at that, if you are an example of the school system I am glad I voted no,I am not a student or teacher , just a run of the mill voter and TAX PAYER and I voted no. Thanks for making me feel good about my vote.

  40. fla native says:

    This moronic election was doomed from the start. People are tired of subsidizing waste and irresponsibility.

  41. Disappointed says:

    Now lets see how many people start crying that their houses were broken into by delinquent children. Just shows that palm coast residents would rather save a buck than invest in restoring children’s futures. Shame on you

    • Barbara says:

      Personally I’m glad people are beginning to wake up, we have been budgeting and cutting back and doing with out for years, as a couple there is no place else to cut. If the govt did the same instead of spending as fast as they get it, ( whatever happened to saving any extra for a “rainy day” so to speak) we wouldn’t have this problem. Oh and the landscaping, while looking pretty could certainly have waited till a more appropriate time.

    • Al says:

      Blame the parents not the schools…

  42. Art Vanderlay says:

    Shame on the citizens of Flagler County, more specifically Palm Coast. Make sure Belle Terre Pkwy is landscaped and watered, but screw the kids. They are this County’s future you idiots.

  43. Brad W says:

    I definitely agree with Andy Dance that there weren’t any “winners” with this vote. A lot of people are only seeing this on the surface which is the truly sad part in my opinion. This vote should have taken place this past November for a continuation of the .25 mil. The schools would not be paying $80,000+ today if that had been done and they most likely would have had that passed then. Plus 2 Board Members were out on the campaign trail for re-election and could have spoken to the benefits then. That didn’t happen, and there is no excuse at all for that. Instead, most of the Board decided to recklessly gamble with our schools. That should be unacceptable to every parent and every employee of our schools.

    Life will go on in our schools and we will continue to give them the most. The market will continue to recover and the schools will see an uptick in their budgets soon as population and taxable values increase. As they are both doing right now. We know budgets decreased because it was at the price on home values of every homeowner that they decreased, but that is turning. It’s time to be realistic and learn to plan better. 2007 is not a realistic budget comparison. It’s also time to realize that we can hold leadership accountable outside of ballot boxes and not accept what doesn’t seem right (45 minutes costing $2 million). The first step is holding those accountable that recklessly gambled with our students’ education.

  44. dan says:

    This was a successful vote. People voted their consciences and did the right thing. The management of our school systems is pathetic and every teacher’s dream is to get out of the classroom and become an Administrator.

  45. Lonewolf says:

    Lets hope that the Flagler County Property Appraiser does not take this defeat and suddenly start raising what our properties are worth.

    • IMO says:

      Zillow predicts 32137 home values will rise 2.5% next year, compared to a 2.9% increase for Palm Coast as a whole.

      So yes your taxes will automatically be going up as the tax appraiser factors in these increases.

      Would you prefer your property values were decreasing?

  46. Think About it says:

    People complaining about felons breaking into homes and in classrooms..give me a BREAK… It ALL starts at HOME, not the classroom…

    If everyone on the school board would give up a percentage of their pay, you’d have your money, quit trying to take blood from a drained stone…

    • Nancy N. says:

      Try doing some actual math instead of just throwing big sounding ideas around. Each of the school board members makes $30k per year. That is a total of $150k per year if the school board gave up their ENTIRE salaries. The school board was asking to raise about $3 MILLION per year. Their total salaries are only about 5% of the total amount that the board was trying to get from taxpayers.

  47. Dennis McDonald says:

    How will the Board of Education members personally cover the cost of this needless referendum. This money comes from the education budget and has impacted all students. Had the BOE been “awake” this vote would have been FREE if put on the Nov 2012 ballot. Irresponsible management and BOE.
    The BOE has GAMBLED the students $$ like Landon/Netts/Meeker gambled OUR Utility Enterprise Fund $8,100,000 on Walmart coming to Old Kings Road.
    Let’s drain this swamp !

  48. Donna Heiss says:

    @ Disapointed. Children are not taught at school to NOT break into houses or be delinquents as you put it. That teaching is done at home. Children only get out of school what they put in. You cannot make a child that doesn’t have support at home into a model citizen at school even if they added the national guard and 2 hours extra to the school day.

    The reason this was defeated in my opinion, was lack of a clear answer where this money would be spent. Very poor planning on the school boards part. First it was for this and then it was for that, etc. Even the school board did not have a clear idea on how or where the money would be spent. To vote yes would have been irresponsible. Let the school board go back to the drawing board, put together an actual plan, then present it to the taxpayers, but only when the school board understands it. This was a rush rush and they just threw ideas out there to see if they would stick. I voted no but would have voted yes if there was a clear plan drawn up not just winging it to see if they could get away with it. Once they had the money with no plan, there was no way of knowing what the money would be used for.

    @IMO. Families with children should not move here until we get sustainable business. Jobs will always be a problem unless we got a large manufacturing company here or the like. This part time stuff that the big box store offers employees is a joke.

    • IMO says:

      The main reason for the crimes of burglary, larceny and shoplifting is drug abuse. Drug users need money and theft is the easiest way to get it.

  49. Jerry says:

    If you rent and have kids in school, you pay nothing…… if your landlord increased your rent to compensate for the increase in the school tax, would you feel the same????

    • Helene says:

      Jerry: You have some warped thinking. As with the property tax increase on my home if this had been passed, I don’t think raising rent @ $22 a year – @ $1.90 a month, would be much of a hardship on anyone.

  50. optimisic2013 says:

    Too many “chiefs and not enough Indians”, cut the salaries of the pencil pushing high uppity ups, be frugal and wise managing the budget, as I have to do in my household. Why does the school board and county have to have “taj mahal” buildings to meet in. Why not use the school cafeterias and libraries (this is how it was done years ago). We are taxed too much.

  51. RONI says:

    Regardless of saving or not saving when things were good the truth is that the schools needed the money now and Palm Coast as a Community failed the children of this county yesterday. The schools as many of us AMERICANS have suffered the economic problems for years now and now it was the time for the community to do a great thing and stop being selfish, stop trying to teach finance and budget lessons by VOTING NO! Everyone has lost HERE regardless of their age!

  52. Anonymous says:

    I hear a lot of complaining, but not a lot of solutions. What are some alternatives or cost cutting measure the school board and school administration can take? Can they outsource custodial/food/transportation services? Volusia County had to do it for custodial services to save money. Can they tap into iFlagler and FLVS to save money on classroom teachers and get around the class size rules in the middle and high schools? Can they consolidate schools… create K8 centers, consolidate ITMS and BTMS? Consolidate administrative duties? Have they cut down to zero growth or negative growth to save on salaries? I am sure the school board would love to hear more solutions and less complaints.

    • IMO says:

      One solution and the most obvious is to eliminate the paid school board. That would save $165,000 a year.

      You make the School board a non paid position.

      Then you take the $165,000 in savings and hire a Chief Financial Officer in your school district. Someone with a degree and experience in financial budgeting and planning. You pay that person say $80,000 for their expertise. That would save $85,000 (before benefits) to begin with.

      That is the way most school districts do it throughout this nation. What about the School Board. Don’t worry you will get people that want to be involved ion the educational decisions in your county to serve and they will do so without pay. The Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer would report to the non paid school board who would have to approve their recommendations. But they would not have any financial stake in their decisions.

  53. confidential says:

    The taxpayers of Flagler County have spoken!
    Enough is enough and if the school board would have accepted the common sense economic suggestion of our very efficient and responsible SOE Kimberle Weeks (after the School Board decided to hold a loosing referendum anyway against the people’s wishes) and would have agreed with Kimberle’s suggestion to have a mail only vote process saving us probably 2/3’s of the over $80,000 cost for this election, the Board would have maybe look less of an omen to us now.
    Our elected officials are totally blinded by the administrators and lack courage to oppose, contest their shameful waste proposals, decisions on which better to dilapidate our hard earned taxes while further benefiting the elite.
    Next is the county…why in a shrinking economy, where unemployment is rampant in this county, diminishing population/construction/new businesses (more shutting down than opening), the county legal department demands to increase its budget by 10.5% and one more lawyer to be hired..? Same for County Engineering Department and other county dependencies why asking for budget increases..?if obviously there is less work on this recession?
    Why as per records looks like the County Clerk financial’s are paying such a huge unemployment figures for so many employees fired for no other reason than replacement with closer individuals? Can the media request the Clerk of Court financial records? What was the outcome of the 5 millions over spend on the Justice Center looked thru a state audit…we never heard the results of that audit!. Why the commissioners allow Coffey to buy that decrepit Hospital at thru the roof over price and at the same time wanting to rise our taxes? Why is the county wasting 140,000 in billboard signs to be bought from a developer while asking for higher taxes…I would really like to be reassured that we, county taxpayers outside Plantation, are not footing the bill for that, also decrepit useless utility just bought from Mori Hoseinni for over 5 million and that requires at least 8 million more on repairs for compliance demanded by DEP and other environmental agencies, specially since looks like a significant county official has recently taken up residence in Plantation.

    Why is the county trying to keep for himself at least 3 million collected from Palm Coasters impact fees. We all should wonder, as is, we already pay too much to the county for services provided by City of Palm Coast alone and this has been going on since we incorporated in 1999.

    • DRuta says:

      That’s a great suggestion , Look at voters low turn out, this would also limit the election to the property owners & not the general public.

  54. Tom Says says:

    I’m all for education but I’m glad it did’nt go through. Don’t we already pay enough in school taxes (look at your tax bill) you just can’t resort to raising taxes every time your short. Just like everybody else, when your short go back and make some cuts where you can.

  55. Shark says:

    Let all of the parents who have kids in the school system pay for it!!!!

    • IMO says:

      “Let all of the parents who have kids in the school system pay for it!!!! ”

      I have no problem with your proposal as long as you abolish the public education system and make every school in the nation a private school.

      However the very idea of “Public Education” you fund it through taxes on the entire general public.

  56. Vincent says:

    I agree we don’t need cops in the schools, and there is a lot of money badly spent. But I voted for the tax because we can change the board and fix those problems without gutting the schools, cutting time in class, and falling behind not just the country but the rest of the world in how well we educate the next generation.

  57. the real reason says:

    People do support education. If the deputies at schools nuttiness hadn’t been attached to this Vote to this legislation would of been approved. They way The School board pushed that in and the Sheriff assuming his opinion Mattered really turns people off.

  58. New Ideas says:

    The first thing we should do is eliminate salaries for school board members…that way we could get people who are there because of their concern for our children…..not just a bunch of politicians. Someone threw common sense out with the bath water a long time ago.

  59. confidential says:

    @Jerry and others totally incorrect regarding the distortion that “renters do not pay school taxes”. Renters pay school taxes in the monthly rent!! Is not itemized but the landlord pays the school taxes like everyone else in the rental home every year and in case most don’t know it , the landlord aka home owner investor, pays higher taxes in a home for being a rental and because, is not homesteaded (he does not live on it). Also very important, rental or non homesteaded homes, pay much higher annual taxes than homesteaded homes depending the value of the home and an average of over 43% more in higher annual taxes.
    So please lets do not distort issues here as renters pay school taxes thru their landlord and over 40% higher than non renters!! Please ask the County appraiser James Gardner ph: (386) 313-4150 and get properly informed. If we are getting together to support and issue better get real facts.

  60. IMO says:

    Since arts and music will now be eliminated from the elementary schools it is only fair that all taxpayer funded sports and clubs be eliminated from the high schools.

    This vote clearly sends a message that regarding sports a “Pay to Play” funding mechanism be put into place immediately .

    Retirees should not have to fund a football, basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse or any club at the high school level. Teachers should no longer have to give their time in coaching sports or supervising clubs. Let parents who want their children involved in these things “Pay to Play” and “Pay to hire coaches.

    First cut the Board should make is elimination of all taxpayer funded sports programs. The community has spoken. They don’t want these programs.

    As to parental transportation of students to the school the Falgler County Sheriff should strictly enforce the traffic regulations around the school buildings. The blocking of public roadways near the school as hundreds of parents drop their children off created hazardous driving conditions on blocked roadways near the schools both during the morning commute of people going to work and at school dismissal times. These people have no legal authority to close down a traffic lane because they need to transport students. Retirees need to get to Doctor’s appointments. Others need to get to work. The hundreds of cars parked illegally in traffic lanes near the schools should be ticketed. The dozens of cars that illegally park on the grass off the roadways near bus stops needs to be addressed and traffic citations issued to those who illegally park on the grass. Each morning and afternoon I observe dozens of autos, pick up trucks and SUV’s illegally parked on the grass off the roadways leaving tire ruts in the taxpayer funded grass. It is destroying the ambiance of my area. Deteriorating the property values of my neighborhood.

    The community has spoken. They want all laws enforced. These children are healthy and can be dropped off blocks from their schools and can walk to final few blocks.

    No student should be allowed to park their private auto on school property. Private autos on school grounds could lead to large lawsuits being filed against the district if an accident occurs on school property. Weapons and drugs can be stored in these private autos with them being brought onto school property. Same rules should apply to parents. They should not be allowed to bring their private autos onto school property to pick up their children. Again this could lead to lawsuits being filed against the school district if an accident occurs. We don’t need some parent from Grand Haven dropping their child off in their BMW on school property. All drop offs should be done outside the designated school zone areas. Then let the child walk the rest of the way. Better yet let them use bicycles to get to and from schools. Teach them personal responsibility as to being on time and getting yourself where you need to be.

    Your vote has convinced me that the laws should be strictly enforced with parents accepting the responsibility they have no right to ignore traffic laws in school zones. Their children must be taught good old American Independence and Responsibility. Why should teachers and administrators have to monitor traffic conditions on the school grounds. That is not what they get paid to do.

    The community has spoken with this vote. Time for the School Board to strictly enforce rules. If working class children will now have to walk 2 miles to school the wealthy should not be allowed law breaking privileges in transporting their precious children to school by inconveniencing the rest of the public using the roadways. Hundreds of autos parked in traffic lanes in front of our schools is illegal. The law should be equally applied to all.

    Time to give this community what it voted for. Not my problem if it inconveniences them or their children.

  61. A.S.F. says:

    The people of Flagler County have spoken. They should remember HOW they voted, and not complain, if school hours end up being cut and kids start hanging out more on the streets. All those who voted “no” should realize that you only get what you pay for. As for parents taking more responsibility–that would certainly be wonderful In a perfect (and more simplistic) world…But many of the parents of these children have to drive long distances to and from jobs that require long hours and kids will, by necessity, to be left to their own devices during these times. If the schools cannot provide appropriate in-school and after-school alternatives, where do you think these youngsters will end up? Do you think they will turn into pumpkins, just for you, while you spout off whatever judgements make you feel safe and superior? It takes a village, they say, to raise a child. I think this village has just made it quite clear how terribly interested they are in the welfare of our children. And, yes–there should be a line item review of the school budget so that vital blood is not purged out of the living and breathing bodies of our schools. Time to get to work!

  62. RG says:

    The educated citizens of flagler county have used thier education to vote. They got involved and a majority said no. Its thier money they have that right. The students just need to graduate not graduate As Astronauts, lawyers, rocket scientists etc. Once they graduate there is no guarantee in life that they will afford higher education nor a good job or career even if they did get.a degree. Just ask the thousands working at jobs that are way below their education levels now. Our federal gov has dumbed down our citizens on purpose. Just the very few lucky ones will make it to the top of their education abilities the opportunities are slipping away.

    So how is more money going to help the students of Flager Co?They Are screwed from the day they graduate. The whole country is in the same boat until every US citizen say no more waste to the Federal Gov. For example fighting every darned war for other ingratefull countrys.

  63. Question says:

    I have a question. Isn’t there some way possible to restore those 45 minutes of class time ? There has to be a way to reallocate resources to this. After all, education is what it should be about, using whatever money & resources are available. Whether or not the vote passed, we now need to work with what we have to restore those 45 minutes anyway and provide the best education possible for our children.

  64. Jack Howell says:

    The sad thing here is that a lot of misinformation was passed around regarding the need to raise taxes. Tom Lawrence is probably the biggest “bum information” passer on this issue. I also think that the school board could have done a better job of educating the public on the justification for the tax increase.

    Many years ago, I was a professor of Economics at Northwood University. One of the concepts that was discussed in my classes was about the “Rationale Ignorant Voter”. Simply stated, voters make a selection, on election day, without due diligence or a firm understanding of the issues or candidate positions. They may pick a candidate for their looks religious beliefs, race etc. ; but not with an in-depth understanding of the actual issue.

    In Flagler County, there is a need to streamline funding. For example, I don’t understand how we can have two schools operating at half capacity because of declining enrollment. Consolidation needs to take place…by Aug 2013! I’m sure there are other cost savings that can be found as Mrs. Valentine has stated.

    A few things that the Rationale Ignorant Voter does not know about the teachers is that they are not on a twelve month contract and have spread their 10 month salary over 12 months if they want a paycheck during the summer recess! Further, teachers are not reimbursed for the majority of the classroom supplies needed to educate the kids. In edition, there are many times they provide a child with lunch money. Yes, there are free and reduced lunch programs but does not cover all. Yes, I was a high school classroom teacher (13-years) and figure I spent around $2,000.00 out of pocket. Let us not forget the expectation that all students will improve their learning. If not, it is the fault of the individual teacher….not the fact of lack of parental support at home or the high absence rate.

    I could go on but why? I care for kids an believe in their potential. Ask any of the students enrolled in Teens-In-Flight. Maybe I should run for school board next year…..Not!

  65. much doubt much wisdom, little doubt little wisdom says:

    So the voters are ignorant and spiteful because the shills and hacks who stood to personally gain from this tax increase loss? This increase had nothing to do with improving education and the safety of kids. But it had everything to do with fattening the pockets of those whose greed and selfishness know no bounds.

    This district underestimated the voters because it held the mistaken belief that poor people are stupid. And since the district is predominantly poor its citizens must be predominantly stupid. And it sought to prey on these fears by dangling education as the only hope for success and hope for the future generation. Shame on you! You make me sick!


    “The principles underlying propaganda are extremely simple. Find some common desire, some widespread unconscious fear or anxiety; think out some way to relate this wish or fear to the product you have to sell; then build a bridge of verbal or pictorial symbols over which your customer can pass from fact to compensatory dream, and from the dream to the illusion that your product, when purchased, will make the dream come true. They are selling hope. ”


    “Intellectuals are the kind of people who demand evidence and are shocked by logical inconsistencies and fallacies. They regard oversimplification as the original sin of the mind and have not use for the slogans, the unqualified assertion and sweeping generalization which are the propagandist´s stock in the trade.”

    “Unlike the masses, intellectuals have a taste for rationality and interest in facts. Their critical habit of mind makes them resistant to the kind of propaganda that works so well on the majority. Among the masses, instinct is supreme, and from instinct comes faith…”

    ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

  66. fla native says:

    As I said before and I will say it again I have no pity for school teachers when I ride by the elementary and middle schools and see Mercedes,Infinitis and other luxury cars in the parking lots. Unless the law has changed 12 year olds can’t drive. I also wish when I worked in the public sector for 40 years I got a THREE month vacation every year instead of the paltry one or two weeks. No no no and hell no. No more money. The private sector has to tighten their belts and the school system can do the same. There’s not one per cent of the Flagler County population that makes over a hundred grand a year but the school board chairman does. Any questions?

    • Richard Calderwood says:

      Here’s a thought: Since school teachers are county employees and only work less than 9 months a year (school early closings, Easter and Christmas vacations, long weekends, etc.) maybe they should be put to work during the summer to earn their salaries during a full work year. I work 50 weeks a year. Why shouldn’t they?

    • IMO says:

      fla native says….listen pal nobody in their right mind purchases an automobile today. The overwhelming majority of people lease an automobile for 3 years. That way your auto is always covered by a warranty. Every 3 years you get a new car. Most of all you pay about 52% on your automobile rather than the fill 100% of purchase + interest on a loan.

      So yes by leasing most people can afford a better automobile than if they were forced to outright purchase a car. You can lease a Honda this month for $149 a month. An Elantra for $169 a month. A Santa Fe SUV for $189 a month. A Lexus for somewhere in the $300’s a month.

      By the way I drive past the Matanza high school almost everyday and I don’t see the luxury cars you speak of in the parking lot. I see a lot of older pick up trucks, a lot of 5 top 7 year old cars and a few newer cars. I have no idea what school’s parking lot you are looking at!

  67. pete says:

    After reading some of the negative comments toward the voters that opposed the tax says a lot. The shame on us; the guilt trip they bestow on us; the blame game for voting no.

    Democracy has spoken. Grow up and get over it.

    • Nancy N. says:

      “Democracy has spoken. Grow up and get over it. ”

      Funny you should say that since the same tea party voters who voted against this tax have been whining for years now about Obama, including trying to claim he isn’t legally eligible to be president.

      Pot, meet kettle.

    • IMO says:

      What school did you attend. We don’t live under a system of democracy. We live under a Constitutional Republic system of government both at the federal and state level. Both are directly involved in your school system. Both could care less about you idea of a democracy.

  68. Rich says:

    Once again the usual suspects are being blamed for the referendum failing. Retires, seniors, people from the north and uninformed voters are all to blame for the school tax scheme failing. Truth is people do care about schools. They are tired of government constantly reaching into their pockets for more and more. There is no accountability. They are like pigs at the trough always looking for more.

  69. confidential says:

    And please stop bashing the retirees for this Vote. We are no longer only elderly voting here…we all did vote and you need to accept the results and stop threatening us the People with delinquency to be created by our choice or erosion of our home values, etc., etc. That is a bunch of BS. We all united, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea Parties, etc all against further taxation. So stop the finger pointing and better be ready because we will keep up our battle against waste! We did not vote against the children or their teachers, heck NO, we voted against the over paid administrators with close to, at ,or over six figures pay and their assistants of the assistants..We voted against unnecessary new computers, books, test programs, gadgets, etc. purchased every year for the benefit of the approving administrators and their suppliers. We went to school and our children did as well without all these costly gadgets and became, engineers, architects, doctors, business managers, teachers, business owners and moved America in the right direction until 2001….and I have to say was better back then. We were shaken by 9/11 and lost the will to take at stand and was time that we turn that page. All elected officials out there need to see the writing in the wall. Better star working for the taxpayers that put them in office and have the courage to question, review, confront, analize any project / spenditure presented to them by their hired administrators.

  70. Binkey says:

    @Fla native

    I am sorry that you did choose to go into education and get your “three months” off, but that was your decision.

    Also, it is not uncommon for educated people to have nice things (such as cars). I am at the schools several times a week (elementary) and I do not see what you are seeing

    @ people who say make school board an unpaid position

    in Florida most school district school boards are paid. They put in a lot of time and are compensated for it.

    @Jack Howell

    I so agree that the school board did a bad job of getting the word out to the voters. If you saw their black and white signs they had sitting around the schools and actually tried to read them, they only left you thinking what??


    All people should pay for the communities public schools, even people without kids in the school system – just like they did when you were a kid.

    The county already has a person who is the budget person


    Custodial and Transportation could be interesting places to look at.

    The state pays for transportation for students who live 2 miles or more from school, but the district transports elementary aged students who are 1 mile or more. Providing the free ride for students between 1 and 2 miles is probably a large chunk of change that is not funded.

    Not sure what is going on with custodial staff but the schools sure do not look clean. Either they are short staffed or not doing anything.


    “Pencil pushing high uppity ups”? Who are you talking about? Can you be specific? The school board shares the meeting place with other governmental boards. It is far from a Taj Mahal and is a pretty plain government building. It is big though.

    @Donna Heiss

    Agree that the school district campaign seemed lacking.

    Unfortunately, manufacturing is a disappearing industry in the US. This area does not have the infrastructure to make companies want to expand here. Additionally, the local government is difficult to get along with and the life style for young employees in PC area is boring. It is a retirement community. It is interesting to note who is moving here now. It is renters who are getting assistance or who pay first Monty’s rent and little else until they are evicted. If you haven’t noticed the area is looking more and more ghetto.

  71. Joe Joe says:

    I’m amazed at the lack of common sense most of this community has. If you voted no, no matter what reasons you have (spite, cheapness, confusion, not knowing all the facts but still voted, etc) you just took a chunk of education related items away from the children of the community who have nothing to do with your dislike for the county or school board. Good job, you bunch of miss-informed, careless cheap-o’s!!!!

  72. IMO says:

    May I once again suggest that the correct course of action at this point is to either cut the salaries of the School Board members or eliminate the School board as a paid position and create an Chief Financial Officer position at the district level. A man or woman with a degree in administrative financial oversight of your school budget. Preferably someone with experience that is fully competent in preparing proper budgets and reports that can be released to the press so taxpayers can see a well prepared breakdown of where educational taxpayer money is spent.

    A CFO of a school district is usually not only a certified accountant but also has a degree in school administration and is well versed in both federal and state educational law.

    The CFO of a school district usually works directly under your School Superintendent and reports to both the Superintendent and the School Board. The School Board would have final approval of the CFO’s budget for the year and complete oversight of any adjustments the CFO recommends during a budget year due to changes or new mandates from the State or federal government.

    A CFO of a school district is also usually charged with accumulating information as to the future of a school district. i.e, when a roof will need to be replaced, when other repairs to facilities will be needed, enrollment in the future etc. in the hope of keeping a School Board 3 to 5 years ahead of itself as to future projected budgets.

    Time to start thinking about that.

  73. fla native says:

    Is Janet Valentine really worth over a hundred grand a year? I think not! Valentine needs to go along with Netts and Landon. If somebody starts a recall I will sign the petition.

  74. Gramps212 says:

    Everything the school board decides is public, and open to the public for review or comments. Why do you wait for a “vote” to be involved. I think the board should all be replaced and salaries revamped, but while everyone is complaining and whining, you should really be sitting in on those meetings and voice there. They have this HUGE room that is never even close to full. When you ask a question & they hobble around it, don’t back down, hold them accountable to the answer. Do your own homework. Boy, y’all have a lot of bark (after the fact). GET INVOLVED in your community more than just catching up on Pierre’s blogs!

  75. Dying Senior Citizen says:

    Come on Mrs. Lincoln, how did you really feel about that play?

  76. Anonymous says:

    My college economics professor once stated that throwing more money at students so they can learn more was a farce. He’s been around the country and it seemed to him all the school districts just kept focusing on money spent per child. The more money the better educated you became. Then he said something that has stayed with me for years. “It doesn’t matter how much money is spent per student to make a child learn, show me a parent that cares about a child’s education and I’ll show you a child that can learn”.

  77. Nikia says:

    My children are in private schools in this community. I supported the increase because just adding time in the classroom and off the streets benefits everyone in the community. Do we realize we are right next to St John’s County School District and we can in no way compete with them? Good schools = good property values plain and simple. Have we not learned the lessons that keeping this community a retirement community doesn’t support its economy? I wish PC residents would stop acting like they are in a self contained bubble and the rest of the world doesn’t pertain to them.

  78. Maryjoe says:

    “it’s about to get worse because not only did we not get the .25 mill, we also lost the existing one.”
    Why did they lump the two together? Did they think they could force the voters to vote a particular way if they did that?

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