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It’s Elementary. Vote “No” on the proposed half cent sale tax for schools. Basic Premises.

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it s elementary

It’s Elementary

Vote “No” on the proposed half cent sale tax for schools

basic premises
Basic Premises
  • All living entities face the fundamental alternative of life and death. All private ventures face the fundamental alternative of succeeding or going out of business. Government entities face no such alternative – they just raise taxes, which is why we are here today
  • Government qua government creates no wealth; the money government spends must first be created by the private sector
  • Every dollar collected in taxes is one less dollar available for private investment
  • Government, by its nature, rewards the status quo and penalizes innovation
  • Competition in the free market provides the best possible value to the consumer, no matter the product
  • Private enterprise always provides the same service at a lower cost
  • Local governments still refuse to accept the fact we went through a real estate bubble which inflated tax revenues; they refuse to return to pre-bubble spending levels
have you noticed did you know
Have You Noticed/Did You Know?
  • The half cent sales tax was initially proposed to replace $7 million in lost revenue from the expiration of a .25 mil ad valorem tax. The sales tax will yield ~$30 million per year
  • Proponents always compare budget year over budget year instead of looking at actual revenue and expenses
  • All charts start with 2007-2008 – the high water mark for revenue
  • We’re told 97% of our tax dollars go to the classroom. This flies in the face of logic.
  • School closings do reduce administrative overhead, but teachers and staff are absorbed elsewhere – how much staff was actually eliminated by these closings? Were the closings really the best way to cut, or were they just setting the stage for the 2014 vote?
  • We’re told the money spent to promote the sales tax isn’t taxpayer money because it is classified as “non-designated” funds. Every penny collected by any government entity is taxpayer money, regardless of how it is collected.
  • The average charter school’s cost per student is one third that of Brevard Public Schools. This figure is similar in other districts as well.
how did we get here
How did we get here?

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”– Thomas Jefferson

the current pain is self inflicted
The current pain is self-inflicted
  • Projecting double digit property value increases through 2010
  • Projecting ever-increasing student enrollment despite pending shuttle layoffs and projected home prices in excess of $300K
  • Continued capital spending in 2006, 2007 & 2008 even when it was clear projections were way off the mark.
  • No Long Term Capital Replacement Budgeting and Planning
  • Movement of Capital Monies to cover Operating Costs
  • Duplication of Facilities (stadiums, performing arts centers)
  • Failure to Adapt to Variations (smaller buses)
  • Building Expensive New Schools when not necessary (Heritage)
  • Building Expensive New Schools to torpedo Charter Schools (Palm Bay Sunrise and Patriot)

This means the capital portion is as follows:

2003-2004: $44,174,871 vs 2012-2013: $41,185,679

questionable decisions purchases
Questionable Decisions/Purchases
  • Built new projects (football fields and performing arts centers) instead of refurbishing old schools
  • Ignored demographic changes from pending shuttle program demise
  • $8 million no-bid contract extension with EDR for ERP software – didn’t even look to see what was out there (see handout)
  • 2009 or 2010 accepted a ~$7 million rebate in exchange for agreeing not to refinance Certificates of Participation note (long term cost in excess of $20 million)
  • Cisco phone systems installed in new schools (Cisco is the most expensive VoIP phone system to own and operate)
a specific technology example
A Specific Technology Example

TCO Comparison of major UC system vendors



10 year total cost of ownership comparison using the ShoreTel TCO tool

2,000 users across 3 sites

(1750 at HQ, 200 at RO1, and 50 at RO2)






Source Data: Aberdeen Research, Nemertes Research, Alinean Research, ShoreTel

common sense questions
Common Sense Questions
  • Why did the board continue with the capital spending in 2006, 2007 and 2008 when it was obvious the bubble had burst?
  • How many employees were laid off after the last round of school closings?
  • Why aren’t you making cuts now? Isn’t outsourcing custodial services to save $2 million per year a no brainer regardless?
  • Especially if the newly found $13 million is already spent with none allocated to facilities?
  • Why doesn’t the school board’s financial package do life cycle costing?
  • Does the $8 million you just spent on new software give you life cycle costing?
  • Where is the list of projects for the $300 million the sales tax will generate?
  • Are you going to do a bond and spend all ~$300 million now or are you going to work with the 10 year revenue stream?
  • Andy stated at a forum last week he would have voted to close those three schools even if he had “all the money in the world”. Why was the failure of the sales tax to pass given the blameif that was the case?
  • How many in this room couldn’t cut 5% or 10% from their operations in a year if their business’ survival depended on it? What about 15%? 20%?
proposed solutions
Proposed Solutions
  • Convert one assistant principal position at each school to a teacher position ($5-$7 million annual savings)
  • Purchase smaller buses where appropriate (unknown savings)
  • Take advantage of latest communications technology to cut communications and IT overhead (unknown savings)
  • Convert some 12 month administrative positions to 10 month positions (unknown savings)
  • Furlough employees for one day ($1.6 million per day savings)
questions answers

Questions & Answers

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

– George Santayana