Broward Schools & Property Tax Edition: Capitol to Courthouse Headliners–December 16

Dec 16, 2008


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Florida Legislature sets special budget crisis session

Florida’s legislative leaders announced Monday that they will convene an extraordinary lawmaking session Jan. 5 to close the state’s ever-widening $2.3 billion budget hole.


Broward legislators facing squeeze

As Broward legislators stare into an ever-expanding budget hole, they will need to rely on a few well-placed legislative leaders and a group of younger lawmakers to protect Broward from cuts in the GOP-controlled Capitol, where the county’s predominantly Democratic lawmakers have a tough time even in the best years.


Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson Calls On OPPAGA to Revisit Corporate Voucher Findings

Concerned that a government watchdog report was “narrow and limited,” Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) on Monday asked the Senate President that the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) revisit its findings on the merits of the state corporate voucher program and extend the scope of its examination.


Rep. Will Weatherford:  Money will be biggest issue on education committees

State Rep. Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican, is a contender to be House speaker in 2012. This session he will serve on several education-related committees, including as chairman of the State and Community Colleges and Workforce Appropriations Committee. He shared his thoughts on the upcoming session, education funding and priorities for the next two years.


Falling property values add to Fla. budget woes

State economists recently cut their forecast for 2009 property taxes – based on the taxable value of properties for school purposes – by about 5 percent since their last estimate in August.


Crist crafts way to get out budget of red

Gov. Charlie Crist could ask Florida lawmakers to shrink this year’s $2.3 billion budget deficit by a likely combination of spending cuts, reallocating money collected for specific programs such as roads and affordable housing, and by agreeing to finance new prisons with bonds instead of cash, according to documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.


COLUMN:  Forget auto bailout — start with education

Alberto Carvalho and James Notter employed a bit of rhetorical artifice. They asked Washington for a federal bailout. Their message was aimed at Tallahassee.

Local school superintendents have been saying for months now that their districts have been devastated by state policy makers. But the superintendents of Florida’s two largest school districts described themselves as desperate as any Detroit auto CEO or Wall Street banker. First Carvalho, then Notter, suggested that their districts faced an economic catastrophe as worthy of federal rescue as investment banks or car manufacturers. Their novel reasoning flashed through the national media and reverberated through the Internet.


COLUMN:  School bailout–Plenty of risks as government prints money

With Wall Street, Detroit automakers, and various state governments demanding bailouts from Washington, it’s only natural that school boards would want the same thing.


Lawmakers hear pleas to spare social services

Florida lawmakers dealing with the biggest cash crunch in recent history faced a string of advocates on Monday imploring them not to cut cash for children, the poor and the disabled.


EDITORIAL:  Governments Must Brace For Tough Times

Local governments, already trimming expenses a little at the margins because of state-mandated tax cuts, should begin planning for major pruning of low-priority programs.


Big Tobacco moves closer to Florida pack tax hike

Big Tobacco appears more ready than ever to accept a higher cigarette tax in Florida — but only in return for an extra fee on a rising competitor: Dosal Tobacco Corp.


Florida budget crunch seen by some as an opportunity to shrink government

For the conservative Republicans who run the Legislature, the storm clouds gathering over the state budget have a silver lining the opportunity to shrink government as never before.


EDITORIAL:  Save our schools

More cuts to education will imperil Florida’s children and state’s economic future

Florida’s lawmakers face tough choices in a gloomy economy, but must stand up now for public schools or do grievous damage to the state’s future.


Water managers review Florida-U.S. Sugar deal

Water managers began their final review Tuesday morning before a crucial vote on the state’s $1.34 billion bid to buy U.S. Sugar’s sprawling farm fields.


Palm Beach County stripper fee hike awaits decision

Adult entertainers may soon be paying $50 more for the Palm Beach County-issued card that allows them to work here.


Quarter fees and parking fines more than pocket change for St. Petersburg

It now costs more than ever to park downtown.


Legislators say local requests are missing financial realities

One by one, more than 40 community leaders stepped to the microphone Friday to plead with the area’s state legislative delegation to protect them from deep cuts being considered by state government.


Broward School Board to vote on making donation to Haiti

Nearly 100 old portable school buildings could soon be on their way to Haiti for use as homes, clinics and schools.


Broward teachers to have district’s finances checked

Almost two months after declaring an impasse with the Broward school district over contract negotiations, the Broward Teachers Union said Thursday that analysts would conduct a forensic audit of the district’s finances.


Top principal in Florida takes over F school

Miami Central High, a chronically failing school, is getting a new principal — the state’s best.

The Florida Principal of the Year is taking on a new challenge: He’s moving to one of Miami-Dade’s toughest high schools.


Pasco schools’ funding cuts are bad, with worse on the way

The time has come for the Pasco School Board to make some tough decisions.


Opinions differ on funding, programs at state colleges

When Florida’s community colleges began offering more accessible, affordable four-year degrees, the Legislature took notice.


Budget cuts impact FCAT, too

It hasn’t reached the point of death by a thousand budget cuts, but the state has slashed approximately $18 million from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.


Florida school grading change could mean more D’s, F’s for Treasure Coast schools

For 10 years, the FCAT has been the only tool used to decide whether a high school received an A or an F.


Towers paying off for schools

For six weeks, hundreds of Benito Middle students had nowhere to store their belongings.


Facing a growing budget shortfall, Collier school district saves in other areas

At a time of intense economic turmoil, the Collier County School Board was able to save some money in electricity and fuel.


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