BY BUDDY NEVINS
If Broward’s state legislators and senators were graded on its contributions to education, it would get an “F.”
Let’s see. Our state lawmakers have:
- Failed to pry enough construction money out of the Legislature to solve the overcrowding of Broward’s schools in places like Weston.
- Failed to wrest enough money for teachers.
- Failed to find enough money to rehab the schools failing apart in the eastern part of the county. Just last month, part of the ceiling at Northeast High fell down.
- Failed to pass an ethics law for School Board. Numerous sources say it was killed by former state Sen. Nan Rich whose daughter is School Board member Laurie Rich Levinson.
The delegation has finally found something it might get done in Tallahassee –more money for school cops.
This is the latest Motherhood and Apple Pie issue. But unfortunately this feel good issue won’t do much to protect our kids.
And it has hidden danger: Will the Legislature, once unleashed, cut school money elsewhere if it approves this idea?
The Broward Legislative Delegation is backing a bill to allow voters decide whether they want to raise property taxes 50 cents per $1,000 of property value. It doesn’t sound like much, but its about $100 for a home worth $250,000 with a homestead exemption.
The schools current taxes are about $7.45 per $1,000.
The School Board and local governments have the power to raises taxes without extra legislation. If cities want to hire more school cops, bite the bullet and pay for it.
Whether the delegation or the locals institute a tax, don’t expect a cop or two at every school to avoid another Connecticut school shooting.
Iraq and Afghanistan are bristling with heavily armed troops. They can’t prevent terrorist attacks.
Or to give another example, Chicago has been unable to stop the runaway gun violence no matter how many cops the city throws at the problem.
I’m for making schools safe.
I just believe the idea should percolate before being approved. We should have a realistic plan before considering a new tax. Otherwise, it could turn out to be a font of funds squandered by bureaucrats.
For instance, what is the tax really going to be used for? How many cops….at what pay scale and benefits? Who does the hiring?
Part of the plan should be making schools less porous. They currently have numerous entrances that can be penetrated and cops can’t be everywhere.
Many of the threats are from classmates bringing weapons to school. Should we have security check points that kids have to pass through before entering the schools?
And what about school football games and bus stops? If some nut wants to shoot students, they could do so any place kids gathers.
State Sen. Elenor Sobel, D-Hollywood, and the other delegation members need to think the issue before they rush to throw money at it.
But then again, this is the Broward Legislative Delegation. It’s a group that never passes up a chance to substitute grandstanding for a lack of meaningful achievements.
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