Putting Education Reform To The Test

School Funding Bill Would Leave Miami-Dade Unable To Pay Off Debt

Miami Herald

Giving charter schools local money for construction, maintenance and facilities could leave school districts unable to pay their bills, Fred Grimm argues.

Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm raises another issue with the proposed bill requiring equal funding for charter schools and district schools: A credit crunch.

But the budget has another complication. Most of that remaining $230 million must go to pay off the district’s mandatory obligations, including some $180 million due as debt payment on bonds, $27 million for property insurance and $8 million to satisfy legal obligations stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act. That leaves the district only about $12 million to spend on maintenance for the entire year.

The consequences become more dire in subsequent years, when debt payment obligations increase, causing the district’s construction and maintenance to descend, if this bill passes, into the red. With less than nothing for maintenance. (The district derived most of that debt when it was forced to borrow construction money to provide 100,000 additional student stations to meet the constitutionally mandated classroom enrollment caps.)

The school district would be forced to reach into a general fund already devastated by budget cuts and rising medical costs.

What do you think of Grimm’s point? What’s the proper balance for funding district schools and charter schools — all of which are public schools?


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »