Friday, April 29, 2011

It's Budget Time - We Need Help!

I am in the throughs of preparing our school budget for next year and I have to tell you this is probably the most stressful event of the entire school year for me. We face the darkest, bleakest situation of my career this year. I implore you to read what I have written below and then take action! Help me not have to make devastating cuts that will effect our teachers and children. HELP US!

Article IX, Section I of the Florida Constitution guarantees that:
"The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida."

"It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for … a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education …."

Duval County expects to suffer from a $60-80 million budget deficit for the 2011-2012 academic year. All the facts tell us there is NO WAY to “trim the fat” and balance this budget crisis without affecting the classroom. In short, your child's school will suffer.

Valuable resources like Art, Music and PE may be cut!
Media and Guidance services could be reduced!
Our school week could be cut to four days!
Teachers could be forced to serve as associate teachers for half the pay!
Essential supplies and materials could disappear altogether!

It is important to understand that this problem, this CRISIS, is not limited to Duval County alone. This fiscal crisis is statewide. Regarding the total amount of funds allocated and spent on education, the state of Florida is ranked 50th in the nation. I ask you, does this represent your priorities? I doubt it.

Are our legislators upholding the requirements of our state constitution?
As voters, we share a heavy burden. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves with accurate facts. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard. It is our responsibility to act. It is our responsibility to advocate for our children. It is our responsibility to fight for their rights, for today and for their future. If not us, then who? If we do not meet our duties, we cannot expect others to meet theirs.

I urge you. Educate yourselves. Research the facts. Go to the source. Ask questions. Speak out. Make demands. Do not accept it as fact because others believe it to be true.

Ask yourself, is 50th good enough for your child?

If the answer is NO - contact our state's legislative delegation and ask for immediate help from one of these short term solutions:

1. Please give flexibility to the school districts in the areas of categoricals, (SAI, Class Size, Instruction Materials, Reading, Safe Schools).

2. Please suspend unfunded mandates on the districts. (Examples: Transportation, Testing & Curriculum Requirements, Safety Nets, and Staffing Requirements.)

3. Please give flexibility of capital funds—so they can be used for General Revenue.

Ask them to find long term solutions to the critical funding situation in Florida and urge them to make public education a priority so that even our children's children can benefit from a right guaranteed them by our state constitution!

To learn more about how to get involved and about how to contact our legislators and ask them to make funding for public education in Florida a priority visit SaveDuvalSchools.


Mrs. Patricia Wallace said...

I'm trying to do my part. I've been emailing as much as possible as part of the Reach 10 action: 10 Days - 10 Calls - 10 People. (

50th is last place. Our children deserve better than that. How can last place show them we value them?

Please contact our legislators and make your voice heard for the sake of the ones who really matter... our children!

dayle timmons said...

I am also writing and e-mailing. When I feel powerless, I remember that there is power when you are able to pick up your pen and write.

Anonymous said...

I try to call as I'm driving back and forth to the beach to baseball games or appointments. (I know it's not great to talk on the phone in the car but if you dial before you start the car...) A phone call counts as three contacts. We are a huge community. If 70% of us reach out we can make a difference!
-Karen Morris

Anonymous said...

I hate this feeling of deja vu. I was hopeful that last year was the last that we would read news like this. I am very afraid that folks are going to grow accustomed to pleading for reason without ever getting any satisfaction. If that happens, many will just stop asking questions, and that cannot ever happen.

I should not be surprised. After all, our state elected a Governor that was convicted of crimes that should have landed him in jail. So, please don't cout on the general populace to bail us out of our duty to scream for justice. We deserve better, and I will try my best to be heard.

Sorry for the rant,


Jenny said...

My husband and I have contacted all of our legislators....I am not happy with the replies I'm receiving from their staff. Their perspective? "We're taking the responsible route by not raising your taxes." My thoughts? RAISE MY TAXES IF IT MEANS MY CHILD WILL HAVE A QUALITY EDUCATION! THEY will not get a second chance!

Anonymous said...

Can I get an Amen for Sister Jenny! They can raise my taxes too!