Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 11:10am

NUMBERS

Posted by admin

NUMBERS

Sometimes, you just have to look at the numbers and let them do most of the talking.

Lake County School District

40,907–End of year student enrollment for the Lake County School District

300–Number of fewer students enrolled since the beginning of the school year

392–More students in the District since the end of the last school year

$45 Million–Amount for new Lake Minneola High School that opened this year

0–Number of new schools needed since 2007, if the School Board had planned properly

282–Amount student enrollments have increased since October 2007

0.7%–Percentage of student growth in 5 years

51,587–Number of student stations in the Lake County School District

1,478—Number of student stations added since 2007

2,414–Number of student stations that vanished in the District since 2007

10,680–Current number of student stations not being used in Lake County Schools

189.4–Years the District has in oversupplied student stations based on a 5-year trend

575–The reduction in high school students in attendance this year–presumed drop-outs

$556 Million–Amount of debt the Lake County School District has amassed

$32 million–Yearly interest charges on the debt

$782.26–Amount of money per student paid for interest charges instead of schooling

3–Number of School Board members seeking re-election

As you read each line, the numbers add up to disaster for Lake County’s taxpayers.  Much like America’s current debt problem, the Lake County School District has literally mortgaged our children’s future away.

The most stunning part of these numbers is that the citizens of Lake County never had the opportunity to vote on any of this debt, as most school districts.  Instead of putting forth special bond issues for review and approval by the taxpayers, the Lake County School Board entered into backdoor Certificates of Participation (COPs), which is a quasi-public private financial facility used to get funding without voter approval.

In November of 2007, during a contentious public hearing by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners with regard to increasing impact fees to $14,656, Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C., said the following:

Many school districts in the state have been losing enrollments, and it appears that Lake County could be following suit.”

“Most importantly, under this 2007 yearly trend, Lake County Schools would have capacity for 69.6 years.”

“If trends continue to reverse, it is not beyond reason to see schools closed for lack of students.”

This was a prediction our group made nearly five years ago.  We believe the proper course for Lake County, given the high cost of maintenance and overhead, is that some schools should be closed and others consolidated.  If you look at what they are doing in their summer programs, the administration must agree.

1–Is probably the most important number of them all.  That represents you, the voter and taxpayer, who needs to participate and let your voice be heard.  If you don’t speak up, the numbers listed above will only get worse.

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10 Responses to “NUMBERS”

  1. Howard’s Response to Conner’s Posting

    School Board Member Tod Howard took offense to Conner’s representation of the facts and he disputed the contention there was a consensus on the school board. Howard released the following statement to The Right Side of the Lake.

    Mr. Conner should have thought about that before he voted to place a 500 million dollar tax burden on the citizens of Lake County. The money we borrow today is the taxes of tomorrow. Tomorrow has come and Mr. Conner has as great, if not greater, responsibility as anyone in finding a solution.

    Cost shift? Who the heck does he think is on the hook for the debt? Apparently it is not the developers, he voted to end their tax contribution by ending the impact fee. The tax payers will pay for the debt, period! The majority is being paid out of the local tax payers required 1.5 mill.

    The consensus is; there is little appetite for an impact fee. LCSB has been put in a corner and continued borrowing is not an answer. LCSB needs a long term solution that ensures the facility management of over 7 million square feet can be done in a responsible manner. The solution should strike a balance between the educational and economic interests of Lake County citizens. We cordially ask the BCC to come to the table to be a part of the solution.

  2. To MR. O says:

    Well this is Florida and in florida the school board is governed by a Chairperson.
    This information can be found a the Florida School Board Association web site.
    BTW nice cut and paste.

  3. Response to Get it Right Moron (Can’t believe that is your real name)

    If you google President School Board you will see that the Majority of Schools in this Country refer to the position as President of the Board. The Board President/Chairman has the duty and responsibility to look out for the best interests of the citizens of the school district and the NUMBERS above show that did not happen under Jimmy Conner.

    The President shall:

    1. preside at all meetings of the Board of Education.
    2. see that minutes of the meetings are properly recorded, approved and signed.
    3. cause his/her facsimile signature to be placed on all orders of the Treasurer for bills, salaries and employment contracts approved by the Board of Education.
    4. sign all other contracts or agreements approved by the Board.
    5. defend, on behalf of the School District, all actions brought against the District.
    6. prosecute, when authorized by an Annual Meeting or the Board, actions brought by the District.
    7. cause whatever business that may require attention to be brought before the Board.
    request, on behalf of the District, legal advice or guidance.
    8. prepare, in consultation and cooperation with the Superintendent, establishment of Board agendas of meetings of the Board.
    9. appoint, with the approval of the Board, all standing and special committees of the Board,
    appoint all special Board positions, and serve as an ex officio member of all committees.
    10. perform all other duties as incumbent of the office and as required.
    11. carry on the authorized business of the District between Board meetings.

  4. Tod Howard says:

    Got to update some numbers:
    Debt: 467 million
    Debt interest: 15 million, 32 million is the total yearly debt service
    Interest per student: 367
    Citizens did vote for the sales tax portion which is paid off in 2017

  5. It’s Chairman not President.

  6. Mr Riker, I did not make up these numbers or the facts. Jimmy Conner was the president of the school board during the period when these schools were planned and built. If the numbers or facts are not true Jimmy can come out and say that. A smear campaign is making stuff up against your opponent. A candidates record in office is fair game and is what a campaign should be about.

    It is way past time in this country, that we hold our elected officials accountable for their actions in office. No where in the private sector could someone mismanage $500 million dollars and not be held accountable. I’m not running for this position because I need a job or want to be a career politician. Our country is in serious financial trouble and we need to come together and fix the problems. If we refuse to recognize the problems we will never correct them.

    Jimmy is lucky to have you for a friend to respond on his behalf. Why is Jimmy Conner unwilling to respond to the allegations of trading commission votes, proclamation awards, lease contracts, zoning issues and other government business for campaign contributions. Why will he not explain to the people why he believes his actions were okay. Tell the people why he collected money from all the contractors doing business for lake County. Because he knows his actions were not ethical and the taxpayers that he represent would not approve of such actions.

    If we the citizens and voters do not make our candidates respond or be accountable for their improper behavior, then we are in trouble. Unfortunately, Mr Riker, we have alot of Jimmy Conners in government positions. I do not hold this Jimmy Conner responsible for all the problems in the world, but he sure created alot of problems for the taxpayers of Lake County.

  7. My goodness Mike, listen to you and it sounds like commissioner Conner is responsible for everything from sinking the Titanic to the Magic loosing in the playoffs. Actually this seems to be the only way you know how to run for office, throw a bunch of accusations against the wall and see what sticks. I doubt this type of campaigning will benefit you in the long run or carry you to the election.

  8. The numbers tell a sad story. Taxpayers money that was spent on schools that were not necessary. Not only did we build schools that were not necessary, we borrowed the money to do so. And now we are paying $782 per student in interest charges each year to pay for school buildings we did not need. Additionally, we are now forced to to maintain this excess capacity which again takes money away from education. We have educators buying supplies for their classroom with their own money because the school money is going to pay interest.

    Who was responsible for this over building. Jimmy Conner, he led the school board during this spending spree. He portrays himself as a fiscal conservative, yet the numbers tell a different story. If you look at the contractors (mostly out of county) who built these schools, you will see their names on Jimmy Conner campaign donation lists. He has been taking money from them for years and in exchange keeping them busy building.

    Look at the massive construction that the County has taken on since Jimmy Conner has been on the Board of Commission. First, he bankrupted the school system and now is trying to do the same thing at the county. He protrays himself as having slashed $40 million off construction contracts, yet forgets to tell you that the other $500 million he spent was not needed. We simply can not afford another 4 years of Jimmy Conner.

  9. @Tod says:

    Tod, I appreciate your response. I understand that the Board only appoints the Attorney and Superintendent. However, I also know that year after year, one name keeps coming up over and over again whenever financial irregularities are found or misleading or inaccurate information is provided to the public.

    There is nothing to prevent the Board from holding a no-confidence vote on the incumbent in any top leadership position. While it is not binding, it would send a clear message that change is needed.

  10. constructive to say or positive to contribute but thanks again for bashing the LCSB. Enjoyed reading and hope you get some good responses.

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