This Referendum extends the one-half mill property tax for five more years.
The Pinellas County school system continues to be one of the poorer performing districts in the State. The problem with the Pinellas County school system has always been management, not money.
The new Superintendent may change that, but the entrenched power structure and totally dysfunctional school board have thwarted all efforts up to this point. Looking at the current School Board candidates and those who will likely win, I would say the new Superintendent is in for a pretty rough ride.
The Pinellas County school system may be looking at serious challenges with more charter schools, more private schools, more home schooling and more on line schools eating into student enrollment. Why? Because the public school system is not working.
My recommendation is you VOTE NO on the Referendum Question continuing the School District millage rate. The last item on the ballot.
Think about this. When was the last time you saw a governmental body willing reduce its size and change its approach when it was getting the money it wanted?
It just may be, the best thing we can do to help the Superintendent accomplish his goals and deal with the teacher's union is to reduce the amount of money in play and let him use that as the catalyst to eliminate the waste, change the bureaucracy and improve teacher performance.
Don't pay much attention to the cries that education for the students will suffer. Educational performance will only suffer if the Superintendent and the School Board don't make the necessary changes to the organization that will insure kids get a proper education. Those changes are a lot more about management and leadership than they are about money.
History has shown the Pinellas County School Board is one of the best in the State at wasting money.
If you want more monuments to education, more bloated administrative staffs, poor and underperforming teachers carefully nested in their class rooms and poor student outcomes then vote yes.
Otherwise save yourself some money to cover those other tax increases, and VOTE NO on approving the Continuation of One-Half Mill Ad Valorem Tax for School District Operating Expenses.
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Have your say. Be sure to get a petition for the Pier Referendum and complete it properly. Information and schedule of events at Stop The Lens.