The Miami Herald, 07-08-2015
Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is proposing a slightly lower tax rate in a budget that he said Wednesday would also protect teachers’ jobs and increase spending on student services.
School Board Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman said the $4.8 billion budget “respects our teachers, our students and our taxpayers.”
The proposal also would provide a boost to classroom technology, with $27 million targeted for laptops and tablets — some specifically for students who have autism. The additional devices would also help at testing time, when computers are often unavailable for teaching because students have to take online assessments.
An additional $4 million is proposed for bilingual programs. Parents have called for more effective foreign language programs and for making the classes available for all students.
Under Carvalho’s proposed budget, property owners would pay $7.72 per $1,000 of taxable property value. That’s down from about $7.97 last year.
The decrease is partially a result of debt restructuring, which has allowed the district to save money even as it continues to roll out a $1.2 billion capital campaign to fix up schools. It’s also due to a decrease in the rate set by Tallahassee. The state sets the minimum rate school boards must levy in order to tap into state money.
The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposed rate at their regular meeting on July 15. After a vote, the rate may go lower but it is extremely difficult to raise.
The district’s budget has to be approved by the school board in two separate public votes. The first vote is scheduled for July 29.