If you have fewer students enrolled, why do you need more money?
Expenses for our schools do not decrease proportionally to the number of students. Whether we have 500 or 600 students at an elementary school, we still need a Principal, Assistant Principal, Secretary, School Nurse, and Custodian, etc.
Why haven’t you closed some schools to reduce costs with your declining enrollment?
No one school in Charlotte County has experienced a significant enough decline to warrant closing the school. Closing one school would necessitate redrawing the boundaries for every elementary school in Charlotte County. If we did this, as many as 50% of our students would be required to change the school they attend. We have experienced a drop in enrollment since 2007, but for the current school year and the 2018-19 school year, we expect to remain stable. The 2017-18 budget has 50 fewer positions than the 2016-17 budget.
Will the increased Homestead Exemption apply to this referendum millage?
The proposed Homestead Exemption of an additional $25,000 does not affect school taxes. If the proposed legislation passes, you may pay less in overall property taxes if the County millage rate does not increase.
Do you get money for home schooled kids?
No. We do not receive funding for home schooled students. We receive operating expense funds per FTE (full time equivalent student) enrolled in public, charter and virtual schools in Charlotte County. Even though we do not receive funds for home schooled students, we are responsible for registering them, monitoring their progress and making sure they meet Florida Department of Education requirements.
How long are kids in school today vs 50 years ago and how has education changed?
For many years, students in the United States have attended school for 180 days. The school year beginning in the fall and ending at the beginning of June was origionally developed to accomodate the need for students to help in the fields during the summer. There have been many discussions over the years to lengthen the school year, but they have failed. Most children begin school at age 4 with half day Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and continue through 12th grade. Many of our students earn substantial college credit while in high school at no cost to them.
There is almost no aspect of education which has remained unchanged. Students are expected to be beginning readers by the time they leave Kindergarten. They take standardized tests beginning in Kindergarten through 12th grade to measure their progress. If adequate progress has not been made, these same test results can be used to prevent promotion to the next grade. In high school, failure to achieve proficiency will prevent the student from receiving a high school diploma.
Rather than teaching the same material to a group of students sitting at desks at the same pace, education is more likely to be differentiated to the student’s ability. Our school district has almost a one to one technology ratio with one computer, laptop or tablet per student. Students receive and turn in many of their assignments online. Parents have the benefit through technology of being able to check their student’s progress through an online portal.
While education and the expectations we have of our students has changed enormously, so have the challenges that our students face. We have more students who come from single parent households, and more students come from homes where both parents must work. In Charlotte County the poverty rate for children is 23%.
What has been added to the curriculum and responsibilities of schools over the last 50 years? A sample of the responsibilities of Charlotte County Public Schools is:
- Insuring the safety of our students has become more of a challenge and expense.
- Transportation for every child who lives further than 2 miles from school.
- Individual Education Plans for students with learning or physical disabilities. If the IEP requires one to one care, we must provide that.
- Students with disabilities are put in regular classrooms whenever possible.