AFCD understands and appreciates the critical importance of a high quality system of public education to Florida's economic vitality and future. AFCD supports the efforts of the Legislature to carry out its constitutional responsibility to provide a uniform, safe, secure, high quality system of free public schools, and recognizes that it will require additional funding and more efficient use of available resources to provide an adequate state wide level of service.
State Funding for Schools - Public education is a State responsibility carried out by local school boards. Therefore, the Legislature should continue to focus on cutting costs, empowering local school districts to raise additional revenue, and increasing state funding to local districts with student growth pressures including expanded Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funding and the local option Real Estate Transfer Tax.
Constitutional Mandates - The mandate of additional standards should not necessitate additional expenditures while there is much room for change to create additional structural and operating efficiencies. The transportation of students from overcrowded schools to under used schools, and other measures could achieve much more from existing resources, teachers and facilities, than has currently been obtained. Participation in joint use schools and partnering with private development should be encouraged.
Real Estate Transfer Tax - The Legislature should give immediate attention to the elimination of school impact fees. A local option increase in the documentary stamp tax together with authorization of sufficient State and local revenue sources would give school boards the necessary funding and flexibility to address their school construction needs and allow for the elimination of the regressive burden of school impact fees.