Miami-Dade Schools approves tentative budget
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The Miami-Dade School Board is one step closer to approving a multi-billion-dollar budget for the school district, but some employees' jobs may be in jeopardy.
On Wednesday, school board members unanimously approved a tentative $3 billion budget. The majority of the money will come from Miami-Dade residents' property taxes, about $8 per $1,000 of a home's assessed value.
The proposed budget will save many teachers' jobs. Hialeah Middle School Teacher Karla Mats said, "It's allowing my students to have art, music and physical education, and I'm happy about that."
However, a number of non-instructional personnel could lose their positions. "There are some areas, very few, where we are, in fact, closing positions because they have lost their viability in terms of providing direct services to students and teachers," said Miami-Dade Public Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
The school board's approval recommends a $2.7 billion operational budget. About 75 percent of the budget will be used for services that benefit students, including creating more technology-based learning opportunities and launching 30 new magnet programs.
About $500 million will be earmarked for the capital budget, but schools in the county need more than three times that amount for existing capital and maintenance needs: $1.7 billion.
According to Carvalho, the state needs to do its part in helping the district maintain its schools. "Over the past two years, the state has invested zero dollars into the protecting of the physical infrastructure of our schools, zero dollars toward maintenance," he said.
The proposed budget will have to face two public hearings before it can be adopted. "Parents, it's a win. Teachers, it's a win. Students, it's a win," said Joseph Gevara of the Miami-Dade PTA/PTSA.
If the budget goes through, homeowners will experience an average 16 cent cut. Despite the tax cut, however, revenues for the district are up. "It's finally a boost to property values," Carvalho said, "driven by a declining inventory of properties, more aggressive sales, and increased evaluation."
The first budget hearing is scheduled for July 26. After that hearing, the tax rate could decrease. It can no longer increase, though.
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