If our sales tax money is given to charter schools, can it be recouped if the charter school should close?

212.055 only mentions schools.  It doesn’t say charter schools or private schools or district run schools. Is it implied that the sales tax money will only go to school district owned property? I wish someone would assure me that if our sales tax money is going to a charter school, then money and assets can be 100% recouped if the charter school should close.

Below are excerpts from the Florida Statutes

Parts of 212.055 (6) SCHOOL CAPITAL OUTLAY SURTAX.—
(a) The school board in each county may levy, pursuant to resolution conditioned to take effect only upon approval by a majority vote of the electors of the county voting in a referendum, a discretionary sales surtax at a rate that may not exceed 0.5 percent.

(b) …  The statement shall conform to the requirements of s. 101.161 and shall be placed on the ballot by the governing body of the county.

(c) The resolution providing for the imposition of the surtax shall set forth a plan for use of the surtax proceeds for fixed capital expenditures or fixed capital costs associated with the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of school facilities and campuses which have a useful life expectancy of 5 or more years, and any land acquisition, land improvement, design, and engineering costs related thereto. Additionally, the plan shall include the costs of retrofitting and providing for technology implementation, including hardware and software, for the various sites within the school district. Surtax revenues may be used for the purpose of servicing bond indebtedness to finance projects authorized by this subsection, and any interest accrued thereto may be held in trust to finance such projects. Neither the proceeds of the surtax nor any interest accrued thereto shall be used for operational expenses.

Here is the full 1002.33 (8) (d)

When a charter is not renewed or is terminated, the school shall be dissolved under the provisions of law under which the school was organized, and any unencumbered public funds, except for capital outlay funds and federal charter school program grant funds, from the charter school shall revert to the sponsor. Capital outlay funds provided pursuant to s. 1013.62 and federal charter school program grant funds that are unencumbered shall revert to the department to be redistributed among eligible charter schools.

In the event a charter school is dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all district school board property and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased with public funds shall automatically revert to full ownership by the district school board, subject to complete satisfaction of any lawful liens or encumbrances.

Any unencumbered public funds from the charter school, district school board property and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased with public funds, or financial or other records pertaining to the charter school, in the possession of any person, entity, or holding company, other than the charter school, shall be held in trust upon the district school board’s request, until any appeal status is resolved.

1013.62 Charter schools capital outlay funding.—
1(1) For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, charter school capital outlay funding shall consist of state funds appropriated in the 2018-2019 General Appropriations Act. Beginning in fiscal year 2019-2020, charter school capital outlay funding shall consist of state funds when such funds are appropriated in the General Appropriations Act and revenue resulting from the discretionary millage authorized in s. 1011.71(2) if the amount of state funds appropriated for charter school capital outlay in any fiscal year is less than the average charter school capital outlay funds per unweighted full-time equivalent student for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, multiplied by the estimated number of charter school students for the applicable fiscal year, and adjusted by changes in the Consumer Price Index issued by the United States Department of Labor from the previous fiscal year. Nothing in this subsection prohibits a school district from distributing to charter schools funds resulting from the discretionary millage authorized in s. 1011.71(2).

 

Charter schools are publicly funded schools.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools.

Note that the below excerpt from the statute says “district school board property,” but what if the building and land are owned by private investors even though the public funded the purchase?  Are any charter schools housed in a district school board building?

Florida Statute about charter schools:
http://leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=1000-1099/1002/Sections/1002.33.html

Quotes from Florida Statute 1002.33:

In the event a charter school is dissolved or is otherwise terminated, all district school board property and improvements, furnishings, and equipment purchased with public funds shall automatically revert to full ownership by the district school board, subject to complete satisfaction of any lawful liens or encumbrances.

(a) A charter school shall operate in accordance with its charter and shall be exempt from all statutes in chapters 1000-1013. However, a charter school shall be in compliance with the following statutes in chapters 1000-1013:

Scott Shine

I have received no response to my email.  What should I do now?
Listening to Aaron Bowman discuss the school board’s referendum at city council meetings on July 16, I am more worried than ever about his appointments to the Charter Revision Commission.

The city council designee needs to call out how the council members are voting when the vote is taken via a hand raise. They didn’t do that with the motion to defer the vote on Scott Shine. IF a vote was in violation of the sunshine law then it is deemed void.  That means the motion to defer the vote on Scott Shine is still open.  With that motion still open, then I assume the actual vote on Scott Shines’ appointment is also void.  Yes?

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Susan 
Subject: Sunshine Law Violation
To: <JGabriel@coj.net>

Office of the General Counsel Jason Gabriel,

The vote to defer the vote on 2019-353 was in violation of the sunshine law or so it appears to me.  The cure is to retake the vote.
According to an article I read about the Sunshine Law:
The manual says that because the Sunshine Law requires meetings to be open to the public at all times, the person who tallies the votes should announce the names of the board members who voted and their votes. … if a public meeting becomes “covert, secret or not wholly exposed to the view and hearing of the public,” then that part of the meeting is not “open to the public at all times” as required by the Sunshine Law.
Via a public records request, I asked for the names of the 8 of the 15 council members present who voted NOT to defer the vote on 2019-353. Cheryl Brown and Scott Wilson told me they didn’t know.  I was offered a video link but you can’t see who did or didn’t raise their hands in the video.  In other words, the raised or not raised hands were not visible in the video.

I watched the video at this link: http://jaxcityc.granicus.com/player/clip/724?view_id=1 . You can see the votes being counted by hand at around the 54 minute mark. You can hear CM Wilson say one of the council members changed their mind. But you can’t tell who raised their hands and who didn’t. The person who tallied the votes should have announced the names of the board members who voted and their votes. The cure is to take the vote again. 

On Jul 1, 2019, at 5:12 PM, Susan wrote:

Carla Miller,
I contacted Scott Wilson who was conducting the meeting that night.  He told me he didn’t know who voted to defer the vote on Scott Shine.  No one has told me who voted to defer.  You can’t tell from the video who voted to defer.  Someone on the staff counted the hands up BUT did not call out the names of the people that had their hands raised.  That seems in violation to the Sunshine Law.  In other words, you can’t tell from the video and no one called out the names of the people that were voting to defer. I think you need to correct the error by taking the vote again.  And if 8 out of the 15 people that were present want to defer the vote on Scott Shine, then you need to invalidate the confirmation of his appointment.  Yes (in case you’re wondering), I do find it troubling that people that wanted to defer the vote, then voted yes on his confirmation.  BUT how many people would have voted NO to the confirmation IF there was more time to investigate Scott Shine’s collection of his school board pay check while he missed so many school board meetings?

According to an article I read about the Sunshine Law:  Petersen said if a court ruled the Sunshine Law was violated by using anonymous ballots, the action taken as a result of that vote would be voided “as if it never happened.”  The cure is to have another vote.  The manual says that because the Sunshine Law requires meetings to be open to the public at all times, the person who tallies the votes should announce the names of the board members who voted and their votes. The Sunshine Law manual’s section on written ballots cites an attorney general’s opinion that if a public meeting becomes “covert, secret or not wholly exposed to the view and hearing of the public,” then that part of the meeting is not “open to the public at all times” as required by the Sunshine Law.

Visit to Jersey City and Manhattan

 


If you’re not in great shape, I suggest sitting down every hour or two.
You can sit in one of the many parks or a local cafe for a cup of tea or lunch or dinner.
The other thing I would suggest is to study the website of the museum you plan to visit and prioritize which floors and exhibits you want to see before you get there.

Here are some of the things we did in our week there.

Sunday
Arrive
Food shop at Shoprite
Visit the Liberty Harbor RV Park where Ken was staying
Walk to Breakfast at B18 Kitchen
Longingly look at the spa and make a mental note that I want to come back for a massage
Check-in to the AirBnB in Jersey City–great little studio apartment

Every morning we had coffee and granola in our little studio apartment before we headed out.  We did one major thing each day that we were there:

Monday: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tuesday: Museum of Modern Art
Wednesday: bought the tickets via TKTS (the discounted place on the day of the show) Broadway-Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus at the Booth Theater
Thursday: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island–rode the ferry there
Friday: Guggenheim Museum
Saturday: Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium and
Dark Universe and fly home

Other things we did but not sure which days
Rode the ferry to New York City
New York Public Library
Irish Hunger Memorial Park in Battery Park City
Rode the subway many times–cured of my subway phobia
Walk in Greenwich Village
Bleeker Street
Minetta Tavern
Bought a scarf
Grove Street Farmer’s Market
Grove Street Bizzar
Razza for dinner in Jersey city(JC)
Luna for dinner (JC)
Porta for dinner (JC)
Sole for dinner (NYC)
Shubert Alley
Junior’s for lunch
Lunch in the 4th floor Dining Room at The Metropolitan Museum
Carriage Ride from 59th to the Guggenheim mostly thru Central Park
10 minute back and shoulder massage in Central Park
Listen to the street musicians in Central Park
Cafe Overlooking Central Park in the Guggenheim
Walk in Theater District
Walk 14th street
14th Street Pizza (Susan–no one else wanted a pizza)
Walk Across Central Park from 5th and 89th to 72nd and Broadway: Police Station, Reservoir, squirrels, bird watchers
Walk from 42nd and 7th thru Times Square to 72nd and Broadway: Wollman Rink, chess and Checkers, artists, Carousel, Dairy, gift shop, Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, Imagine Mosaic, where John Lennon walked the mall, the Dakota, Ken’s former place,
911 Memorial

THINGS WE DIDN’T GET TO DO:
Strand Bookstore
Walk across Brooklyn Bridge
China Town
Canal Street
Battery Park
off-Broadway
High Line
Whitney Museum
Frick museum
American Indian Museum
Art Galleries
Wall Street
Macy’s
Cloisters
Jazz club
Walk spiral at Guggenheim
Eat at Gray’s Papaya
Walk inside St. Patricks Cathedral
Go inside 911 museum
See all of the American Museum of Natural History
So much more!!

Letter to Aaron Bean about using our taxpayer money to bring guns into the classrooms

April 18, 2019

Senator Aaron Bean
405 Senate Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

Honorable Senator Bean,

Funding for school safety should not be limited to armed personnel.  The school district should have more flexibility in deciding how to use funds to secure their schools.  Please advocate for amending SB 7030 to allow the school districts to spend the money however they choose to reduce risks.

My understanding is that YOU want the school districts to have the option of letting teachers bring guns into their classrooms. Most school districts are going to choose NOT to let teachers carry guns while they are teaching.  Please amend SB 7030 to delete the language that implies that the appropriated funding must be used exclusively for weapons to be brought into the classroom.

Panic buttons or metal detectors might be a better use of the funds. Please let each school district
decide how to use the money.

guns in schools

Lines 234 to 238 of SB 7030 currently reads as follows:

The sheriff conducting the training pursuant to subparagraph 2. will be reimbursed for training-related costs and for providing a one-time stipend of $500 to each school guardian

Charter schools and private schools receiving voucher money should make do with whatever per student funding that the legislators have already allocated to them.  And it should not be more than 70% of what the neighborhood schools get.   Neighborhood schools act as hurricane shelters, adult schools, parks for the neighborhood, etc.  Plus my belief is that most parents want their kids to go to a school close to their home. Please make all the neighborhood schools GREAT before you subsidize the private schools with my taxpayer money.

What are our goals regarding immigration laws?

I would support these bills if I was a legislator:

* ​Develop prevention programs to eliminate bullying and human trafficking

* Establish a minimum wage so that a 40 hour work week will bring a person above the poverty level

* Require overtime pay for anyone working more than 40 hours per week

* Require that government shutdowns do NOT cause any non-elected government worker to miss a paycheck

* Develop the potential of  our working population.  Eliminate the guest worker visa that prevents workers from fully participating in the free market ability to change jobs.  More information at this LINK

Continue reading “What are our goals regarding immigration laws?”

Sometimes we decide that we’re going to speak out about the injustices

Reprinted with permission.
This is by Rabbi Merrill Shapiro

The story goes that three frogs were sitting on a lily pad when one decided to jump off to cool herself off in the refreshing waters in the pond. At that point, how many frogs were sitting on the lily pad?

This is a frequently told story by former Mayor of Palm Coast, Jon Netts. A long time educator in Bergen County, New Jersey, Netts would use this story to illustrate an important point.

So….what’s the answer?

Netts, with his charming smile and sparkling eyes would be happy to tell you.

The answer is three!! Were you fooled? Or, did you see where this was headed from the start?

Making a decision to do something just isn’t the same as getting it done! We all, at some time or another, make a decision to do something, but never quite follow through, never quite turn our decision into a reality.

Sometimes we decide that we’re going to speak out about the injustices sustained by non-Christians every time a Jacksonville City Council invocation includes the name of Jesus. But do we follow through? Do we jump into the cool, refreshing water or does a body at rest tend to stay at rest? Think about the non-Christian children who attend those meetings. Do they deserve to have their “leaders” let them know they are only second-class citizens because of their heartfelt beliefs?

Sometimes we decide that we need to weigh-in on laws that discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs. Certainly while you are reading this, our Muslim sisters and brothers would like to see us step up and do something. But, we too often find ourselves just sitting on the lily pad. The inertia in our bones and hearts allows an unconstitutional and downright un-American practice of not permitting Muslim immigrants access to our borders, to become rooted.

After all, the only thing evil needs to triumph is my silence and yours!

Let’s go ask the city council to be inclusive.

I know many wish government personnel would just quit doing prayers out loud at the podium at government meetings.  And maybe some prefer a moment of silence to start off a government meeting so that each person can silently pray in their own way right before the meeting.  BUT barring either one of those two options, it seems to me it might be nice if a group like One Jax would volunteer to co-ordinate invocation speakers. Don’t Republicans love outsourcing? Why not outsource the job of finding invocation speakers to a group who honors and embraces the value of inclusiveness? One Jax may not want to do it but maybe there is a group similar to One Jax who would agree to do it.

From One Jax website:

OneJax is an interfaith organization dedicated to achieving civility, understanding and respect for all through education, dialogue and community-building. Our vision is an inclusive community where difference is welcomed and celebrated.

Jacksonville is a very diverse community. The prior City Council Chaplains were able to find a wide variety of people to give the invocation.  Why won’t Doyle Carter?

Jacksonville city’s attorney seems to knows that what Carter is doing is wrong.  The attorney’s memo dated September 20, 2014 includes the words:

“The Court suggests that nondiscrimination is important ….. This should be taken as a warning that if a legislative body chooses to invite speakers, then it should be careful not to engage in discrimination.

For your convenience, here is the link to the memo:

http://www.coj.net/city-council/docs/misc/ogc-invocationopinion-2014-09-20.aspx

Do you think the invocation period could  be an opportunity for the city council to embrace inclusiveness? Why did Carter pick so many Baptists to give the invocation?

Here is the list of who Carter has chosen (but please note that these are not the people that ultimately spoke. See updated list on other blog post):

INVOCATIONS:
7/25: Pastor McGinley- Old Plank Baptist Church
8/8: Keith Russell- Westside Baptist Church
8/22: Adam Peterson- Rise Church
9/18: Pat Archuleta- Chaplin of Cecil Field POW/MIA and Jesus Loves Veterans Ministry
9/26: Mac Brunson- First Baptist Church of Jacksonville
10/10: Chaplain David Williams from JSO Jails Division
10/24: Dwayne Sumner- Normandy Baptist Church
11/14: Clarence Jarrell- JSO Chaplin
11/28: Bishop Guns- St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church
12/12: CM Carter
1/9: Jason Reed- Old Plank Baptist Church- Family Ministries
1/23: Bishop Edward Robinson- Southside Church of God in Christ
2/13: Brunson Clements- Whitehouse Baptist Church
2/27: David Hill- First Ministries
3/13: Ted Corley- Mission First Coast
3/27: Mark Griffin- Wayman Temple
4/10: Tom Messer- Trinity Baptist Church
4/24: Esther Wilder- Westside Family Worship Center- Women’s Ministry
5/8: Gary Wiggins- Evangel Temple
5/22: Fred Newbill: First Timothy Baptist
6/12: Father Tom Willis- Diocese of St. Augustine
6/26: Amy Slater- Sr. Associate St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
end of city council year

Corrections to the list that Carter Doyle gave me:
4/24: Esther Wilder- Westside Family Worship Center- Women’s Ministry  <==That’s the person that Doyle said would offer the invocation BUT Bishop Percy Golden – The Revival Center is listed on the coj website as the invocation speaker for April 24

5/8: Gary Wiggins- Evangel Temple <==That’s the person that Doyle said would offer the invocation BUT Jimmy Wilder – Westside Worship Center is listed on the coj website as the invocation speaker for May 8

5/22: Fred Newbill: First Timothy Baptist  <==That’s the person that Doyle said would offer the invocation BUT Amos Bankhead – Combined Gospel Church is listed on the coj website as the invocation speaker for May 22
6/12: Father Tom Willis- Diocese of St. Augustine<==That’s the person that Doyle said would offer the invocation BUT Dr. Winston Butler – Dinsmore Baptist Church is listed on the coj website as the invocation speaker for June 12 th.
6/26: Amy Slater- Sr. Associate St. Mary’s Episcopal Church<==That’s the person that Doyle said would offer the invocation BUT Rodney Kelly – West Jacksonville   Church is listed on the coj website as the invocation speaker for June 26th.

Provocative first line and Jeff Sessions by Rabbi Shapiro

This article is by Rabbi Shapiro

Of course secular people don’t have as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious!

Is that what Jeff Sessions thinks?  And if so, what will he do with that belief system as Attorney General?

As U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) was questioning U.S. Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions, during confirmation hearings, the New Englander was led to ask whether “secular” attorneys working in the federal government should have reason to worry.  Whitehouse asked Sessions if “secular” attorneys have “just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious?”

In the purported belief system of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) all human beings are created in the image of God. Even human beings who don’t believe there is a God are created in the Divine image.  Certainly God has a pretty good claim on understanding the truth.  Thus, it should follow, that the humans, secular or religious, created in God’s Divine image, should also have a pretty good claim to understanding the truth.

So, Senator Sessions, do secular attorneys, secular people, have “just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious?”

“Well, I’m not sure,” responded the Senator from Alabama.

Not sure???!!!  How can it be that being religious makes you more privy to the truth than being secular?

Recently, the researchers at the Pew Research Center asked 1,003 U.S. adults what characteristics make someone “truly American.” Seventy percent of the respondents felt that speaking English was very important were someone to be “truly American.”  Forty-five percent felt that sharing American customs and traditions was very important.  Thirty-two percent felt that “Being a Christian” was very important.  Another 19% felt that “Being a Christian” was “somewhat important” to being “truly American.”

Thus, lots and lots of Americans think our country has a “leg up” on accessing the truth.  Many Americans feel that “Being a Christian” gives one an advantage to accessing the truth.

Somehow, we need to begin to inform ourselves about our more narrow-minded friends and neighbors and then we need to try to understand our more narrow-minded friends and neighbors. We should be erecting bridges instead of building walls.  We need to help  these narrow-minded among us understand that there is another way to see things, a different way to know the truth.

As you see, we have a lot of work to do!

Merrill Shapiro