Friday, August 29, 2008

November 4th ballot

Dear Florida School Counseling Association Members,


As we approach a new election period, the Florida School Counseling Association (FSCA) wants to bring to light some of the new amendments that impact the counseling profession in various ways. Three of the nine amendments being proposed have an educational component. These amendments have been placed on the November 4th ballot. Please take the time to read over this brief summary of those amendments.

Amendment #5:



Replacing state required school property taxes with state revenues generating an equivalent hold harmless amount for schools through one or more of the following options: repealing sales tax exemptions not specifically excluded; increasing sales tax rate up to one percentage point; spending reductions; other revenue options created by the legislature. Limiting subject matter of laws granting future exemptions. Limiting annual increases in assessment of non-homestead real property. Lowering property tax millage rate for schools.



ü  Eliminates funding for education through property tax and replaces it with a new option.


§  Repealing sales tax exemptions.

§  Increase sales tax by a penny

§  Impose spending reductions.

§  New revenue created by legislature

ü  Taking $11 billion dollars from education.



ü  Proposed by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, a non-elected body of appointed members.

ü  Currently, approximately 50% of funding for Florida Education comes from Property taxes.

ü  Many of the statewide education and business associations are actively opposing it.

ü  Currently, Florida is last in the nation for dollar per pupil.

ü  Amendment identifies $4 billion from penny sales tax increase. Where comes the other $7 billion.


FSCA’s Stand:

ü  Say NO to amendment 5.

ü  Florida needs to generate more sources of funding for the educational system, not eliminate current funding.


Amendment #7:



Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to provide that an individual or entity may not be barred from participating in any public program because of religion and to delete the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.



ü  Provides state funding for religious organizations that are permitted to discriminate along religious backgrounds.

ü  Reinstates the voucher system.

ü  Puts the government in a position of funding religious organizations that restrict who they hire.



ü  This amendment was also drafted by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.

ü  Removes ban on funding for religious groups proposed by former Gov. Jeb Bush’s school voucher program.


FSCA’s Stand:

ü  Vote NO on amendment 7.

ü  Provide funding to develop current educational employees and provide incentives for highly qualified teachers.


Amendment #9:



Requires at least 65 percent of school funding received by school districts be spent on classroom instruction, rather than administration; allows for differences in administrative expenditures by district. Provides the constitutional requirement for the state to provide a "uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools" is a minimum, nonexclusive duty. Reverses legal precedent prohibiting public funding of private school alternatives to public school programs without creating an entitlement.



ü  Requires that 65 percent of school funding be spent on classroom instruction, rather than administration.

ü  Allows public funding for private schools through vouchers.



ü  Result would likely be that the renewal and expansion of voucher programs.

ü  Undermines the Supreme Court's decision striking down the school voucher program.

ü  Providing 65 % of school funding takes the attention away from a more critical issue, appropriate and stable funding for our educational system.

o   Again, Florida is the worst state for dollar per pupil spending in the nation.

ü  Currently, according to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), Florida spends more than 65% of funds on “classroom instruction”.


FSCA’s Stand:

ü  Vote NO on amendment 9.

ü  This amendment seems to be misleading. By providing 65% funding for classroom instruction they are slipping by support for the voucher system.


All the information in this email was found at the following websites:


You are encouraged to research the topic at your leisure.



Advocacy & Public Policy Committee

Florida School Counselor Association


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