Telling it like it is   referendum
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  • This power point is intended to provide information . It is not intended to persuade anyone to vote a certain way.
  • If teachers want to talk with their friends and neighbors about this issue they should not wait until the eve of the election. Thousands of voters vote early or via absentee ballots.
  • Due to class size amendment requirements, many cuts have been made in electives. This will continue as the budget shortfalls continue. Coaching positions have already been cut by 20%. Art and music positions have been cut at the secondary level and are in danger of being reduced at the elementary level.
  • Every high school in our district has been nationally ranked by the organizations shown. This demonstrates a Pre-K through 12 success story that cannot be matched by any other district. The 94% graduation rate is another statistic that demonstrates our effective our Pre-K through 12 system is.
  • We are now in competition with charter schools and virtual schools for students. Parents and students want flexibility so we give it to them via ePathways.
  • Each high school has a program of emphasis that allows students to study a unique curriculum centered around the latest in job trends. The vision for these programs of emphasis is for them to filter throughout the clusters so that students will once again have a continuous and connected curriculum, Pre-K through 12. Middle schools and elementary schools are aligning with the program of emphasis in the cluster high school to create a common curriculum theme Pre-K through 12. Middle schools and elementary schools offer very popular magnet choices that require funding to keep them vibrant and healthy.
  • It is obvious that the state legislature is attempting to shift some of the responsibility for the funded of public schools to the local level. With an unstable revenue source at the state level (sales tax) many local school districts are asking their citizens if they will provide support. Our neighbors to the south, Orange County, receive almost $600 more per student because their voters approved a millage increase and a sales tax increase specifically for their schools.
  • Schools are at a tipping point. So far, we have been able to maintain our high grades, provide excellent teachers for our students, and provide the customer service that our community expects from us. How much longer can we continue to do more with less? Especially when the more is greater every year and the less reaches a point where it hurts.
  • Each year the school board will decide how much of the mill is needed. Some years may be the entire mill, other years it may be less than that. The economy and the level of state funding is impossible to predict. Even the most talented economists cannot predict what will happen. This is why the school board will decide how much of the mill to levy each year of the four years it is in place. As asked before….what gets cut next? Art programs, music programs, athletic programs, clubs, science materials. Do we really want to be a school system who only delivers what is absolutely required? Or do we want to continue to provide excellence in every area? How long before our best teachers look to other school districts who can provide more support to their classrooms? It is estimated that over $70 million will be needed over the next five years alone to service and/or replace antiquated HVAC systems. Computer based testing and the demands of the technology natives that we teach will require a huge commitment of dollars to technology and infrastructure needs.
  • You might consider quizzing the faculty in this manner. If your home has a taxable value of $300, 000 how much would one mill be? $175,000? $220,000?
  • Think about how much that is per day. Less than a Starbucks coffee? Less than one item on the dollar menu? Per month? Less than having a pizza delivered?
  • The obvious question here is: Can it be used to give teachers and other employees a raise? The answer is that raises are negotiated. Therefore, this question cannot be answered before any new revenues are received. It is obvious, however, that raises cannot occur when the school district is in a budget deficit.
  • ePathways calls for students and staff members to recognize that there are multiple pathways to success in life. It is vitally important that we have the resources necessary to educate our students about these pathways and that we give them the opportunity to take courses that will help them to be successful after high school. We must continue to provide superior preparation for college but we must expand our vocational and career and technical education choices to other post secondary opportunities.
  • Often times, these are the programs that engage our students. They have a passion for these programs and they cannot be ignored or allowed to deteriorate. How would our communities react if we started eliminating band, chorus, drama, art, athletic teams?
  • There is no way to exactly predict the amounts needed in each area. There is also no way of knowing how much of the mill (if passed) would be levied each year. The commitment to the public is that the needs would be prioritized and expended in the areas identified.
  • These are not scare tactics. These are facts. The school system has cut until it cannot substantially cut any more without impacting these areas.


  • 1. eminole County Public SchoolsInformative, factual information about the referendum
  • 2. Voting Information• Oct. 27 – Early voting starts• Oct. 31 – Last day to request absentee ballots• Nov. 6 – Election Day Helpful tip: the school referendum will be on the last page of the ballot (except in Casselberry and Longwood). Be sure to turn over your ballot to cast your vote on this important school funding issue! © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 2
  • 3. It’s important to cast an educated ballot. Today we’ll review: • Painful funding cuts = 750 jobs lost; athletics, arts and music could be next • How the millage funding will be used • Referendum language © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 3
  • 4. SCPS consistently earns “A” grades. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 4
  • 5. A Little Bit About Your School District• #1 in Central Florida FCAT reading, writing and math skills• Consistently earning a district grade of “A” since 1999• Is the #1 school district in the state for delivering taxpayers the best Return on Investment*• Other recent accolades earned by the SCPS * SOURCE: Center for American Progress © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 5
  • 6. ePathways: Sophisticated Career Training• Seminole County high school students have career path choices and training thanks to ePathways• Career programs at all 9 high schools © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 6
  • 7. ePathways: Career Programs At Our High Schools• Bioscience (Oviedo HS)• Culinary Arts (Lake Howell HS)• Engineering (Lyman HS)• Entrepreneurship (Lake Howell HS)• Finance (Lake Brantley HS)• Health (Seminole HS)• IB: International Baccalaureate (Seminole HS)• IT: Information Technology (Crooms Academy)• Forensic Science and Law (Lake Mary HS)• Renewable Energy (Winter Springs HS)• Modeling and Simulation (Hagerty HS) © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 7
  • 8. So why have a referendum?• Local, state and federal funding cuts are hurting our ability to maintain “A” schools and protect programs such as athletics, arts and music• Five consecutive years of dramatic cuts• SCPS school board voted to put the question on the ballot © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 8
  • 9. Impact on property valuesIt’s a proven fact: Grade A schools increase property values and make our area more desirable for quality companies that bring jobs. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 9
  • 10. What’s already been done to cut expenses? – 750 jobs cut – Suffered nearly $74 million in funding cuts – Teaching staff reduced by 5.4% – Administration staff reduced by 8.5% – District-wide support staff reduced by 19.9% – One elementary and one alternative school closed “We’re running out of things to cut,” Walt Griffin, SCPS Superintendent © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 10
  • 11. Walt Griffin, SuperintendentPlease wait while video is loading… Walt video inserted here © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 11
  • 12. Where will the referendum appear on the ballot?Most voters will find thereferendum on the last pageof their ballots.NOTE: Voters in Casselberry andLongwood will find it on thenext-to-the-last page. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 12
  • 13. Referendum language © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 13
  • 14. Referendum language• Requests approval of up to one mill of additional ad valorem revenue beginning in 2013 for no more than four fiscal years (2017).• Additional revenue will be used to: – Preserve “A” rate academic, vocational, arts and athletic programs, – Retain highly qualified teachers, – Repair and maintain school buildings.• The district will provide annual reports detailing how the additional revenue is used.• The School Board will consider annually whether to levy all, part or none of the approved mill. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 14
  • 15. So, what is a “mill”?“Mill” is a term that refers to a government tax assessmentof $1 per $1,000 of taxable property value. For example, ifyour home has a taxable value of $100,000, the taxpayment per mill is $100 per year. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 15
  • 16. What will it cost if it passes?• Cost per home = less than $9 a month – Based on average taxable property value in our county of $130,000 (before homestead exemption)• Even at the new millage rate, the average school tax bill would be lower than in the years 2006 - 2010 © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 16
  • 17. How will it be spent?• Teachers: attract and retain © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 17
  • 18. How will it be invested?• Career & Job Training for our students © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 18
  • 19. How will it be invested?• Preserve our music, arts & athletic programs © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 19
  • 20. What will be purchased?• State-of-the-art computers for learning and testing © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 20
  • 21. What will be repaired and maintained?• Aging schools and buses © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 21
  • 22. Estimated Annual Costs• Recruit and retain quality teachers not to exceed $7M• Provide technology and related infrastructure not to exceed $5M to ensure students’ readiness for the workforce (E-Pathways)• Maintain infrastructure to ensure a safe and not to exceed $12M conducive learning environment (restore funding for critical school A/C, roofs and school bus replacement).• Expand Pre-K classes and school readiness not to exceed $1M programs to prepare students for a quality K12 education. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 22
  • 23. What could happen if the referendum fails? – Loss of quality teachers, administrators and other staff to other school districts. – Loss of “high performing” district status, negatively impacting the district’s and Seminole County’s reputation. Once a reputation is lost, it’s hard to earn it back. – Reduced elective programs including, arts, vocational, and possibly some science, technology, and math classes. – Closing of schools if enrollment were to continue to decline. – Loss of extra-curricular activities including, athletics and performing arts. – Making do with dated technology, which would impair student learning opportunities. – Deferred maintenance on critical infrastructure, such as air conditioning systems and school roofs, essential to a safe and conducive learning environment. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 23
  • 24. What can you do?Get informed. Ask questions. Cast an educated vote. • Education is the key: to our children’s future • Education is the key: to casting an informed vote • Education is the key: to protect our property values • Education is the key: to giving our children the edge they need in this competitive job environment © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 24
  • 25. RememberMost voters will find thereferendum on the last pageof their ballots.NOTE: Voters in Casselberry andLongwood will find it on thenext-to-the-last page. © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 25
  • 26. On behalf of the School Board of Seminole County and the Seminole County School District Thank You! Dr. Tina Calderone, ChairmanWalt Griffin, Superintendent Karen Almond, Vice Chairman Diane Bauer, Member Sylvia Pond, Member Dede Schaffner, Member © Seminole County Public Schools, 2012 26