Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CONTACT: John Schuster
Miami-Dade County Public Schools


Miami-Dade County voters overwhelmingly supported the Miami-Dade County School Board’s $1.2 billion General Obligation (GO) Bond referendum November 6th, paving the way to modernize and construct schools throughout the district, including technology upgrades at all schools.

"The quality of life in our community begins with education," Carvalho told an energized audience of supporters at Miami Senior High School.  "I am an incredibly happy superintendent right now because we have incredibly great leadership.” Carvalho thanked School Board members, elected officials, Building for Tomorrow political action committee leadership, PTA/PTSA leadership, labor organizations, Cabinet members, student government, university leaders including FIU President Mark Rosenberg, and especially, his wife, Maria.

Approval of the GO Bond by the voters provided a sustainable long-term solution to providing 21st Century Schools for all Miami-Dade students. The proposed bond issue will have minimal impact on the typical homeowner, because they will be phased in as 1988 GOS are being paid off.  Construction costs are significantly lower than their peak, and interest rates are at historical lows.

Finding a solution to meet the District’s capital needs has been an ongoing priority for the current district administration and a recurring topic of concern for Board members. Over the last seven years, the District has made great strides to build new and replacement schools to comply with the class-size mandate. In total, the District delivered over 105,000 new student seats.

Since recent capital funding has mostly gone to provide new schools or additions, the needs of older schools can now be addressed.  Almost half of the District's school buildings are over 40 years old, and over one third are more than 50 years old. The downturn in the real estate market over the last five years and the decrease in state capital funding have compounded the capital-funding shortfall. 

The 21st Century Schools initiative will provide prosperity and security in the community as capital from outside the county will be invested within the local economy, and as a result students will be better prepared for the 21st Century global economy. The long-term benefits of continuing the GO Program in 2012 far outweigh the minimal increase in taxes.

The Bonds will help enhance the safety and security of school buildings; renovate or upgrade every school; guarantee technology equity across all schools; seek stakeholder input while minimizing the burden to taxpayers; promote greater public/private partnerships; provide economic development and employment opportunities to our community; and provide transparency and confidence with citizen advisory and oversight committees to ensure timely and equitable distribution of projects. Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho has guaranteed 100 percent local reinvestment of funds.

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