Letter to the Editor regarding 1 Mil property tax increase for schools

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Posted October 13, 2022 | By Stan Hanson

The Ocala Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) seems to be changing emphasis in selling to voters the special one-mil property tax increase for schools.

Stan Hanson

It is now attempting to appeal to us about how our community needs more/better vocational education. No kidding! However, how do you do that when the education system is generating students (including those in vocational education) that have difficulty reading, writing, and doing math. CEP is putting the cart ahead of the horse.

Until our school board gets itself focused on better allocation of ALL the funds it is receiving from taxpayers and any windfall financial support (that was never to become “regular spending”), we will continue to be at the bottom of school districts in Florida. And we will be there for a long time unless some drastic action is taken!

Folks, money is not the issue and when you look at the growth of school funding over the past eight years, there are plenty of greenbacks to do the job.

A friend of mine, now dealing with hiring and working with those from our vocational education system sums it up:

“I can tell you it isn’t the technical skills that is the problem for MCPS grads. It is the basic stuff. Much employment around here is geared towards the construction industry. Imagine the HVAC company that is hiring certified people who can’t read plans or the employee helping to mark out an excavation site that doesn’t know the Pythagorean Theorem.”

Frankly, if CEP feels that vocational education is so important, don’t put the burden on us property owners to train employees for its members. Put some skin in the game and take some of that money in its CEP bank account and/or its shadow political organization (Citizens Encouraging Progress, Inc.)  toward supporting education rather than trying to be the puppet master of our local government/political structure.