Friday, July 26th, 2013 at 8:47am

Correcting the Impact Fee Vote

Posted by admin

Lake County School Board Member Debbie Stivender contacted us stating our reporting of the impact fee vote on Monday was in error.  She is correct.  Our sources at the meeting got a little confused with all the motions flying around. The instant replay provided a clearer picture and here are the details behind the votes.

School Board Member Bill Mathias openly discussed implementing the 100% impact fee if indeed that was the real number, but he left open the question of the number’s validity.  His comments were made as the Board was considering options.

Debbie Stivender and Rosanne Brandeburg put forward a proposal to implement 50% of the old impact fee study or a $5,000 impact fee countywide.  The motion failed 3-2 with Fischer, Howard and Mathias voting against it.

Todd Howard put forward a motion for 50% of the old impact fee study or a $5,000 impact fee for an area south of Sugarloaf for South Lake County only.  Bill Mathias seconded the motion, and this motion failed 3-2 with Fischer, Brandeburg and Stivender voting against it.

School Board Chairperson Kyleen Fischer made a clear statement before any vote that she was opposed to any impact fees because of the negative impact those fees would have on the economy and jobs.

It is very important to understand that four of the five Lake County School Board members voted to implement an impact fee, which was 50% of the old impact fee study or $5,000, but they could not agree upon the geography.

The Lake County School Board did vote unanimously to give School Superintendent Dr. Susan Moxley the authority to arrange a meeting with the Lake County Board of County Commissioners to discuss future funding options for the School District’s capital needs.

The clarification of the vote does not change our stance, and Lake County Chairwoman Kyleen Fischer has it absolutely correct.  An impact fee of $10,000 or $5,000 at this time is a job killer for a fragile Lake County economy.

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16 Responses to “Correcting the Impact Fee Vote”

  1. Once again, Pam Stewart will take over as interim commissioner of education following Thursday’s resignation of Tony Bennett. It’s official. The State Board of Education met in emergency session Friday morning to announce Stewart as the temporary replacement for Bennett ”until someone is called to the $275,000.00 position permanently.”

    She served in that role from Sept. 1, 2012 to Jan. 14, 2013, following Gerard Robinson, who resigned in August 2012 after just one year. Robinson cited family reasons for his resignation, though his tenure was wrought with controversy over the state’s test-based school accountability system and failing scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

    She began her career as a teacher in 1975, working as an elementary school teacher in Ward-Highlands. From there she went on to become a guidance counselor, district teaching specialist, assistant principal, and principal.

    From 2004-2009 Stewart served as deputy chancellor for educator quality at the Florida Department of Education. She then became deputy superintendent for academic services for the St. Johns County School District. Florida records show her hire date as 10/18/2004 and her annual salary at $181,500. NO WONDER THE GOVERNOR WORKS FOR $1 A YEAR!

    In contrast to these outrageous salaries it should be noted that Joyce Dawley FDLE Special Agent in charge of the Orlando FDLE Office was hired by FDLE on 5/18/1981 and has an annual salary of $124,189.52. Something is definitely wrong with this picture!

    It wasn’t until 2011 that she returned to the state Department of Education and her annual salary at $181,500. to become chancellor of public schools.

    Board member Barbara Feingold had high words of praise for Bennett. She said she was “disappointed” and “disheartened” by Bennett’s resignation. The sentiment was shared by other members of the board.

    “I think we have a mess on our hands and we have an opportunity on our hands,” said State Board of Education member Kathleen Shanahan. She advised that the board meet before its next meeting, which is scheduled for September.

    Here is where the problems for Florida’s teacher’s and students comes to play:

    MEMBERS AGREED THEY HAD A STRATEGY FOR THE FUTURE OF FLORIDA’S EDUCATION AND WOULD PERSEVERE WITH IT. They vowed not to allow Bennett’s resignation to throw the Sunshine State off course. WHAT STRATEGY???

    “In less than eight months on the job, “Bennett had already shown a flair for the ambition.” [Sounds like he went to the Bob McKee school of how to tootith thy own horn!] Like a good soldier; he continued work to put the national Common Core education standards in place. He began work on a reorganization of the Department of Education. And instead of waiting for poor school grades to be unveiled — a mistake that tripped up his predecessor, Gerard Robinson — Bennett acted to curb the damage when superintendents first raised warnings of a possible public-relations disaster.”

    In May, school officials had to pass an emergency rule that lowered the passing score for the state’s writing exam after the majority of fourth- and eighth-graders failed the FCAT.

    Once again, Stewart takes over the temporary position in a time of serious transition for Florida’s schools, which are preparing to fully implement the national Common Core Standards for the Sunshine State’s students. Common Core is expected to be a higher level of learning for Florida’s students and will cause them to think more critically about classroom material. Common Core is expected to be fully implemented by the 2014-2015 school year.

    In May 2012 – President Obama praised former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s education leadership at a Miami school. Nationally, both Republicans and Democrats are listening to Bush’s education ideas.

    Indiana education superintendent Tony Bennett was new to office and looking to make dramatic changes to his state’s schools. The biggest? Require third graders pass a state reading test or get held back. But the state lawmakers were hesitant. Ultimately Bennett was ousted as Indiana education superintendent and picked up by Jeb Bush and Rick Scott In January 2013 as Florida Commissioner of Education. He resigned Thursday August 1, 2013 after emails connecting him to orders manipulating grades of Charter Schools in Indiana. Bush and Scott pulling his strings had yet another controllable person at their fingertips.

    In Indiana, Bennett and Gov. Mitch Daniels, both Republican, called in some help: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He pioneered the third grade reading requirement a decade ago.
    “Jeb Bush has…a big mind and a big heart for education reform,” Bennett said. “I believed in my heart that he had a great blueprint.” REALY???? New World Order training for our youth!
    Bush helped convince Indiana lawmakers to approve the plan. For the first time this year, Indiana third graders must pass a reading test to advance to fourth grade.

    That’s just one example of Bush’s continuing influence in education, even though he no longer holds public office. [He just runs everything from his underground bunkers.]
    Here’s another big one: Bush wrote the foreword to Mitt Romney’s education plan. Bush’s ideas serve as the basis for much of Romney’s plan. Romney even thanked Bush by name in his speech outlining the plan.

    And it’s not just Republicans heaping on the praise. President Obama lauded Bush’s education leadership during a trip to a Miami school last year.

    But as his influence has grown, many also blame Bush for shortcomings in the national effort to overhaul U.S. schools.

    In Texas, Florida and other states, local school boards are revolting against standardized tests — the backbone of Bush’s data-driven student measurement.
    Critics say he’s attempting to privatize public education, They point out his ties to companies that profit from education contracts. The list of Bush family ties to various educational initiatives is astounding.

    They note that Bush colleagues are now spread throughout the education world. Brother Neil (Silverado Savings and Loan disaster fame) founded an online education company, Ignite! Learning. The Prentice hall World History book which laments the greatness of Islam is published by Bush’s colleagues at Pearson Publishing. Former Bush deputies run large charter school companies, sit on Florida’s board of education and work for the federal department of education.


    BIO of MaryEllen Elia is Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools. Elia began as a social studies teacher in New York.

    Fethullah Gulen, lives in Pennsylvania. From there he runs a $25 billion international network. He is a prime mover behind the rapid Islamization of Turkey, and he urges Muslims to build schools to indoctrinate an entire generation. He is tied to hundreds of Gulen charter schools right here in the United States. (TEXAS ALONE HAS 36 OF THESE GULEN CHARTER SCHOOLS.)

    I recently heard from a teacher at a Gulen Movement school. “There are so many ethical violations occurring here every day,” he told me, “that it is hard to know where to start.” And worse, there is open support for jihad: When news broke of the Boston Marathon jihad bombings, several students defended the attack and expressed concern for the well-being not of the victims, but of the bombers. “They have also,” said the teacher, “expressed theories that 9/11 was a hoax and that Americans and the West are Islamophobic.”

    Beyond that, the educational standards and priorities are abominable. “This school cares little for education and more for PR,” says the teacher. The administration, he says, doesn’t appear to have any background or training in either education or leadership. “Our vice principal has no idea what he is doing; this is evident in the fact that no one can ever find him, and he does not seem to know even basic information about mission statements, curriculum, standards, etc.” The dean of academics “does not even know what is in our curriculum, and he has frequently asked teachers to go easier so that students can get good grades.”

    Bush is using the network and political muscle he developed while governor to push Florida lawmakers to try new ideas. Once tested in Florida, the ideas are shipped to other states.
    “If it’s your playground and you have a chance to play in it, why not?” Oropeza said. So that’s what he’s doing. “The problem is he’s using Florida as a Petri dish.”

    Simply put; Pam Stewart is just a well paid foot soldier and back up in place to carry the torch for those whose goals are to destroy. Tony Bennett like his predecessor he is a soldier of the establishment in place to effectively destroy the public school systems and replace them with various Charter School for profit management companies with connections to Jeb Bush and other members of the Bush family and their close friends. Like a game of chess they will simply move this king to a new location where if the people fail to do their homework he will continue to push the Common Core initiatives for his New World Orders handlers.

  2. This morning TONY BENNETT the Florida Commissioner of Education who STEPPED IN IT for rigging schools for failure thereby setting them up for takeover by his and Jeb Bush’s charter friends says he is STEPPING DOWN.

    And, do you know who we have to thank for finding all those emails that caught this crook?

    The Associated Press no less. Just about the time you think the lame stream is good for nothing; the come in with a home run!

    This move will not halt the project. They are willing to throw anyone under the bus that get’s in the way of their goals.

    They will simply replace this TRAINED BRUEAUCRAT with another one just like him who will take cash in one hand and support the destruction of our public school system while turning it over to the charther schools owners. Many of who are Muslims, by the way.

    The parents and teachers had better ban together and all do their homework if they want to stop this charter takeover and Common core as well.

    Two of our local school board members actually mean well but, they do not understand squat about how deep politics is and whose is really pulling the strings around them. We hear tell folks have triend to politically educate them and they just refuse to believe the truth about haw organized this culture of corruption really is.

    On the other hand the other three are just waiting for their rewards for taking care of business while at the same time they can’t wait for that next glamour shots event.

    The ones who are going to suffer from all this under the table BS are the students and the teachers.

    Right now they are running ads costing untold dollars to lure public school students into the ONLINE K-12 Virtual programs.

    For those parents who just drop little Johnny or little Jennie off at the school and give a sigh of relief for the baby sitting services, you won’t want to use those at home services.

    For those parents who really care about their children and their childs education, the politicians have proved they don’t have any interest in either one of those subjects!

    So parents and teachers – the ball is square in your court. Don’t expect to elect a politician to any office that can do one thing to help you acheive your goals. They are all too busy working for their handlers to make sure they scheive theirs. After all, that’s where the money is!

  3. The Muslim History textbooks story out of Brevard County Florida made it to Hanity last night.

    They actually mentioned Pearson Publishing and how they responded to their inquiry with a prepared statement. A statement that says the book is fair and balanced on relegion.

    They mention these books have been in use in Brevard County for three years. They continue to almost act like these books are only located in Brevard County Florida. has anyone bothered to check our Lake County History Books? Probably not, they are too busy talking about hand held devices!

    They made no mention of the Jeb Bush and family connections to Pearson Publishing nor do they open the door and connect the dots to all the charter school connections and the Common Core movement of the New World Order. Now being called “The International side of the Republican Party.”

    They never seem to do their homework and get to the bottom of all these things that just seem to happen on their own. What is the big mystery? All the facts are right here before our eyes.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see!

  4. Should have read “asking for his resignation in August 2011.”

  5. Every department head hired by Governor Rick Scott has had problems. Scott tapped Edwin Buss, who had been “head of the Indiana prisons system”, to run FDOC in December 2010, asking for his resignation in August 2010; his own Lt. Governor caught in a sexual encounter with an aid in the office, which Scott covered up for her. Ultimately she fell due to her involvement in the internet café schemes targeting our veterans. Most have been gone in just a matter of months. Now we find out Tony Bennett – Florida’s education commissioner has admitted in emails that he lied for six months regarding “grading systems” in Indiana!

    Tomy Bennett, just another “cull from Indiana.” Why can’t we the people of Florida have the very best in personnel for every job we offer? Why do we have to hire people that have been culled and/ or run out of other locations? Because our “leaders” want controllable people, that’s why! Only the rottenest apple in the barrel will do for them!

    The Florida Board of Education chose Tony Bennett for Florida education commissioner in December. “He had just been voted out of office in Indiana after one term.”
    Now we learn why he was run out of Indiana!

    Tony Bennett – Florida’s education commissioner is under fire after reporters with The Associated Press dug up some email messages sent by Bennett when he was in charge of public schools in Indiana.

    Those messages appear to show Bennett changed the grading system to help a political donor.

    The emails written by Bennett show when he was Indiana schools chief, his team was frantically overhauling the school grading system because a charter school owned by an influential donor was about to get a bad grade.

    In an email Bennett wrote, “Anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work.”

    The grading director explained the school scored a C, the result of “terrible” 10th-grade algebra results.

    Bennett responded, “I am more than a little miffed about this, I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months.”

    He later suggested, “We can revise the rule.” In the end, Christel House got an A.

    On Tuesday July 30, 2013, Bennett held a conference call from Tallahassee, saying, “It is absurd that anyone would believe I would change a grade of a school based on a political donor.”

    Really Mr. Bennett? It is absurd that the people of Florida would allow an out of state “cull” like you to head the Florida’s education system. But par for the course Governor Scott is going to “make it go away.” The “checks in the mail” so to speak. Scott announced today not only will every teacher in Florida be getting a raise but, they’ll get a credit card as well to make “school supplies” purchases for their classrooms! Trying to buy votes after attacking their retirement contributions when he was first elected!

    Most of Florida’s teachers are the most honorable people among our society. But, when Florida’s education commissioner not only hope’s (but reduces those hope’s to writing in an email) when he said ”we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses or explanations for me “to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months”

    Don’t you think the unsupervised use of thousands of “tax free” credit cards in the hands of anyone might be cause for concern of the taxpayers who are struggling just to get up the clothes and personal supplies necessary to get their children ready for the upcoming school year?

    All they while the politicians like Rick Scott and Tony Bennett – Florida’s education commissioner are pandering to the likes of Jeb Bush and his private education take over missions labeled with all kinds of different names but ultimately designed to effect a political agenda to force students into private schools.”

  6. The local bird cage liner says the number of Lake County “A” schools has declined from SEVENTEEN all the way down to TWO.

    JEB BUSH and his goons with control over the FDOE set the standards to grade the schools!

    They control the FCAT and are putting COMMON CORE into place all aver the USA!

    The more failing schools the more potential charter takeovers for Bush’s well connected friends in the charter school management companies.

    If the teachers and all others involved in education of our children and not connected to these schemes can not see this – our children are doomed either way!



    MaryEllen Elia is Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools. Elia began as a social studies teacher in New York. She has served as a reading resource specialist, the district’s first magnet schools supervisor, general director of secondary education, and chief facilities officer. Her honors include the College Board’s Outstanding Leadership award and Florida’s 2007 Superintendent of the Year (both of these awards were given to her by Eric Smith, FL. former Commissioner of Education). Elia holds a bachelor’s degree from Daeman College; a master’s in education from the University of Buffalo; and a Master of professional studies in reading from State University of New York at Buffalo.

    Even though Ms. Elia likes to brag her district gets straight A’s this is certainly not the current case as the past 2 years they have fallen to a B and this is the “accountability” grade – not the grade through FCAT as to how the children are really doing. Latest report, 24 percent of the county’s schools got D’s, meaning they failed to meet minimum acceptable standards for student performance and attendance. Fifty percent got C’s and 17 percent B’s. This says 75% of the schools are at C level or below.

    Despite earning the highest high school ranking in the county, principal Vince Sussman wasn’t celebrating. He questioned the fairness of the whole process. For instance, he thinks the attendance category kept Plant from earning an A, although the school’s average daily attendance is 92 percent. “The whole system is designed to not make A schools,” he said. “It’s a political agenda to force students into private schools.”





  7. Where would our Florida public schools and our teachers be right now if AMENDMENT 8 had passed in 2012? Jeb Bush and his friemds would have robbed the coffers dry with their voucher’s ; our tax dollars in hand going to his friends!

    If we think we have problems now, years of finagling by Jeb Bush and his minions to figure out some way to get their fingers into the public education funds of Florida schools and give it to their charter and private school owners. many of whom are lawmakers and/ or other well connected to the Bush Masters.

    In 1999, Bush pushed through the legislature an “Opportunity Scholarship Program” that gave students in “failing” public schools state funding for tuition at religious and other private academies. Americans United for Separation of Church and State and other allied groups immediately challenged the voucher scheme in state court. After years of legal wrangling, the Florida Supreme Court finally struck down the program in January 2006. The 5-2 court majority said vouchers violated a provision of the state constitution requiring a uniform system of free public schools.

    Bush reportedly was livid and vowed to press for a constitutional amendment, but he found more difficulty in the state legislature than expected. In May 2006, the proposed constitutional amendment fell short by one vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, despite a lot of hardball political pressure from the governor and his allies.

    Bush then went for Plan B – after leaving office in Jan 07, he & his top advisers crafted a back-door maneuver to revise the state constitution and advance vouchers. They decided to stack the state’s 25 member Taxation and Budget Reform Commission (TBRC) which meets every 20 years & has the power, by a two-thirds vote, to place initiatives directly on the ballot, bypassing the legislature and other governmental checks and balances.

    Commission members were appointed by the governor (Charlie Crist) (Bush arranged with Crist to appoint Greg Turbeville, a former Bush policy director, the Senate president(Ken Pruitt) and the House speaker(Marco Rubio) helped the scheme along by appointing Bush education adviser Patricia Levesque and other voucher fans). In all, “nine Bush-era acolytes with financial ties to voucher groups who stand to gain financially” were appointed to the Commission!


    Led by three Commissioners who served as senior aides to former Gov. Jeb Bush – Greg Turbeville, Brian Yablonski, and Patricia Levesque (who is currently the Chief of Staff of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future, Foundation for Excellence in Education & has her own lobbying firm) the TBRC voted to include two unwise ballot Initiatives on the November 4, 2008 ballot. Amendment 7 which is now Amendment 8 and Amendment 9, which would have allowed the state to fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide public education through private schools.

    Prior to the 2008 election, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the TBRC had exceeded its narrow authority of dealing with issues related to taxation or the state budgetary process in proposing the two initiatives and removed them from the ballot.

    2010 they tried again as a Resolution and it failed both Florida Houses!

    2011 the Florida Legislature approved a resolution to place Amendment 7 on the November 2012 ballot. However a lawsuit ensued & the Leon County court ruled that the language that was slated to appear on the actual ballot to explain Amendment 7 was misleading. The judge ordered it to be re-written and Pam Bondi did that! (Re-numbered to #8 after rewrite – Florida Amendment 8: Religious Freedom – Failed!

  8. Name Jebco says:

    Excellent plan regarding an immediate budget cut to all county departments ! Lets see who the real county leaders are who step up to the plate and require that this take place.

    We shall see if all we hear are crickets in the coming weeks.

  9. Name says:

    Do the liberal misguided individuals who have posted here and support any additional fees (taxes) either in whole or part really understand the economics of the issue ? The bottom line is that government has pretty much had blank checks to play with for decades and have gotten use to simply going to the well and drawing more water when ever there was any kind of financial shortfall. Well, the water is just about all gone.
    It is imperative that our “leaders” must reverse their thinking entirely and actively put into motion cost saving measures to make up shortfalls in the budgets. These are different times than what we have enjoyed in years past. It should be mandated to ALL department heads from the bottom all the way up to the commissioners to submit a plan to cut 15% off the department budgets they control and it needs to be submitted within 30 days. Period.
    There is a tremendous amount of slop and waste at every county department level that can be corrected buy cutting out the fat. It can be done. It must be done. The citizens cannot continue to feed the counties insatiable monster. The belts need to be tightened and now !

  10. A developer constructs a new neighborhood. To serve the new residents, a new fire station, a new park, new roads, and a new school have to be built. Those who support impact fees say that the developer and the new residents should pay the cost of the new infrastructure. Those who oppose impact fees say that all county residents should pay the for the cost of the new residents. Republicans support making individuals pay for the cost of their actions. Until it hurts them.

  11. Name says:

    No new taxes, fees, assessments, expenses, tariffs, charges or levies in Lake County now, PLEASE !!

  12. Impact fees are part of building and doing business… they don’t have to be the outrageous fees of 10,000.00 that is an impact on the builder weather business or home. But some impact fee must be collected we can’t expect to go on forever waiving fees… i paid dearly when I built my home and businesses now we should just have a free ride? Companies especially the big ones can afford to pay a fair impact fee. If not it is not a business that will do very well anyway.

  13. In this correction of yesterday story you now say that your sources at the (school board) meeting got a “little confused”. Your previous story was so wrong in what it reported that the term you are using now is not quite accurate. Fact is that is you read the comments after your item yesterday about School Impact Fees, people clearly were impacted because you hung a $10,200 impact fee on two members who never supported such a thing. Really, don’t you owe Stivender and Brandeburg an apology?

    Impact Fees are always bad and from your perspective we do get that. It is loud and clear on many of your reports in most every week. What is missing from this blog is that you do not show any support for public education. You are interested in making the school district look bad and evil and actually not worthy of any funding. Why? Because in Lake County a strong economy means a strong home builders economy. When will it ever get beyond the home builders and the lumber sellers? If the business community and conservative voters are against support for public education, does anyone see that as a limiting factor in our economy and in attracting other new employers to locate in Lake and bring some diversity to our economy. Today we rely almost exclusively on getting taxes from houses. Your support for no impact fees of any kind for schools does not seem to help that issue. These are more than a little confusing to me.

    Interesting that the only thing a majority on school board could agree to is to have a meeting with the commissioners. So, the real message here is that no recommendation of any real new funding for capital needs of schools will come this year, again. Was that the outcome, or was it the plan all along?

    People here in Lake County do not want to kill the home builders or the lumber industry. They are important and their workers have jobs supporting our county also. But, if the only goal is for the home builders to win the public schools must pay the price, then that may not be a winning argument forever in Lake. But, it is winning the day right now and no confusion about that.

  14. Does The Lake County School Board REALLY know what they are doing? How dumb can you get? You are dealing with your children, grandchildren, and teachers future! GET YOURSELVES TOGETHER AND THINK ABOUT THAT AND, NOT YOUR CRAZY, HAIRBRAIN IDEAS! GET IT RIGHT FOR ONCE! (A Grandmother & Great Grandmother )

  15. Anyone who can’t see how this game works is just plain brain dead. This is like a chess game.

    This time it is Kyleen Fischer’s turn to be the good person. Just a couple of months ago when she thought hier daughter was going to be the Eustis Middle School principal she was demanding all kinds of waste be put into the school remodeling project and didn’t give a hoot wat the cost to the taxpayers was.

    They take turns opposing each others views according to theorder so their handlers. But, whqat they say is nothing but smoke and mirrors. On any given issue that is supported by their behind the scenes handlers the majority of that baord will vote for that issue. Then they will suck up and let nature take its course and start all over again.

    Two things never cross their minds. Teachers and students. They don’t give a hoot about either one!

  16. Name says:

    Why is a regional impact fee for South Lake County being considered at all? NO impact fee at this stage of our fragile economy should be considered but to target a certain area is unprecedented to my knowledge. It creates a slippery slope when these “taxes” target certain areas and not others. Imagine yourself as a landowner in the targeted region. Your pocket was unfairly picked again by government. If an impact fee is created it HAS to be for the whole county with the only exception in the case of the county waiving commercial impact fees to attract business and create jobs.

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