For anyone who thinks we have a scarcity of money in the school district let me make this clear right now. Indian River County is a community of abundance. The property taxes and impact fees collected are more than sufficient to meet our local needs, if we use them judiciously. We have a spending problem.
Bureaucrats have endless wants and it comes down to the elected representatives to make certain that those wants and needs are in alignment with the mission. Every year their budget requests grow. This coming budget year 2014-15 they are requesting (and it seems the board will not ask them to sharpen their pencils, so they will get it) their largest budget since 2007. They preside over a 122 million dollar budget that will grow by almost $5 million this year. Almost all of that growth comes from OUR property taxes. Now, they will try to tell you about a "budget shortfall" of several million dollars because their wants exceed the budget with which they are already working. But we have to ask ourselves one simple question:
"How will this expenditure provide a world-class education for our children and prepare the next generation of Americans?"
A health clinic for employees when there are so many quality options in the Private sector? Nope, that's a waste of our money. How many teachers and special needs assistants could we secure with that same $156,000? $25,000 of that was spent to remodel a nearby portable "just in case" they need the overflow. We beat up the teachers on their contract so that we can remodel things "just in case". With those same funds we could have hired three teachers and two part-time aids! Or, we could have created a classroom materials fund so teachers don't have to use their own money to buy materials so they can inventively teach our children. I'm still waiting to meet the parent or taxpayer who would rather duplicate or compete with the excellent private sector options for medical services by essentially FIRING TEACHERS AND SPECIAL EDUCATION ASSISTANTS. Our kids deserve better.
We have to embrace smarter spending.
Vote for Shawn R. Frost, MBA on August 26th to ensure that we start spending in a way that most benefits our kids.