The Jacksonville Public Education Fund had an amazing response to the release of our new policy paper today! We started the day with briefing sessions with state legislators and then community members. Throughout the day, we received media coverage from:
- The Florida Times Union - Education group criticizes Florida's spending restrictions, unfunded mandates
- First Coast Connect on WJCT-FM
- WOKV-FM - Study exposes funding gap in schools
- WJXT Channel 4- Despite talk of more funds, public schools face new cuts
The information below was sent out to JPEF supporters and partners - please take a moment to read it, and share it with someone you know.
Dear education advocate,
Today, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund released a major policy paper on funding for public education.
Since 2008, significant reductions in state spending have caused serious cuts to public education in Duval County. School funding is a volatile and emotional issue, and it is complicated. This brief attempts to bring forward a simple and clear-headed analysis to answer a few important questions:
- Does the district have enough money?
- Is the state doing its part to adequately fund schools?
- Is the district doing its part to spend the money it has responsibly?
What JPEF found: Duval County Public Schools does not have enough money to adequately implement state and federal mandates on top of the state constitution's requirement to provide a "uniform, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools" for all students. Those mandates cost the district nearly 40 percent of its budget - plus another $50 million in unfunded mandates.
Between the ongoing cuts and the burden of unfunded mandates, the state is not doing its part to adequately fund education at a level that matches its expectations.
This fall, an independent audit that compared Duval County Public Schools to urban school districts around the country found that the district is spending more on instruction and less on overhead than other districts, although there is some room for improvement in using the limited resources most effectively. In addition to that, our study found there is opportunity to raise additional funds for public education on the local level.
What happens next is up to YOU. Four steps you can take to get better schools:
- Get informed. Read the full report to learn about how school budgets are created and find out steps that everyone can take to weigh in on the issue. Stay up-to-date on important issues in education on our blog. >>>GO TO WWW.JAXPEF.ORG
- Get involved. Join the Jacksonville Public Education Fund's ONE by ONE campaign, which aims to involve thousands in our community in decision-making about the future of public schools in Duval County. >>>FIND OUT MORE
- Advocate. As the Legislature prepares to convene next month for its 2012 session, school funding is at the top of the public agenda. Our elected officials must hear from you. >>>CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
- Spread the word. Forward this e-mail to five friends. Print out a copy of the report and give it to a co-worker. Tell a neighbor how to contact their elected officials. >>>START HERE
When we work together, we can transform the future of public education. It all starts with you!