Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 at 1:24pm

Lake County School District’s Self-Inflicted Money Woes

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Bill Mathias and the School Board Should Accept Responsibility for Financial Mess

 If you listen to Lake County School Board Chairman Bill Mathias, the taxpayers in Lake County are not paying enough toward education and that all of the Lake County School District’s problems are because of growth.  Goodness!  It’s time to put the facts on the table.

First and foremost, the Lake County School Board has made horrible decisions with the construction of new schools—from outlandish upgrades, poor value engineering, and horrendous land deals.  Plus they added student stations where none were needed.  Instead of putting resources to teachers and supplies they have invested in overpriced building projects by out-of-county contractors who gave huge donations to former board members.  The district is strangling on a debt load that was $368.2 million in June 2015.  The amount they are paying in debt service in one year alone could build a couple of schools.

Here is a list of the revenues received by the Lake County School District:

  • Because of an improving economy and growth, estimated taxable values for the district is expected to be 6.1 percent better.  That is a huge increase in money without doing anything.
  • The total school tax millage rate is 7.197 per mil and that includes a 1.50 mil for capital outlays.
  • Last year, School Board Chairman Bill Mathias worked with Lake County Commission Chairman Jimmy Conner in shaking down vendors and forcing a special $440,000 election on the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax).  He claimed the one-third cent portion of the tax could fix ailing schools.  In fact, the taxpayers were told that was the problem solver for the district to fix schools.
  • Lake County has one of the highest school impact fees in the state and nation, with a single-family residence costing $9,324; a mobile home costing $5,856; and, an apartment costing $8,045—this is the reason why rents are so high in Lake County.
  • Plus they get millions in state and federal regular funding as well as money through special grants.

To put Lake County’s taxes and impact fees into perspective, simply look at neighboring Sumter and Marion Counties.

  • Neither Sumter nor Marion County School Districts receive any part of their county’s Penny Sales Tax revenues.
  • Neither Sumter nor Marion County School Districts charge school impact fees.
  • School property tax millage rates are lower in Sumter County by 18.7 percent.
  • The millage rate in Marion County is less than 1 mil higher than Lake County and that is because the people of Marion County voted for a 1 mil school tax to pay for school improvements.

What makes no sense about the money issue ailing the Lake County School District is that the heavy retirement mix in the county should make the district flush with money.  According to the United States 2015 Census, 26.1 percent of Lake County’s population was over 65 years old compared to 13.3 percent nationwide.  That’s nearly double that of most areas.  There are tens of thousands of seniors who are paying school property taxes in Lake County, who will never utilize Lake County Schools.

The 2,050 homes being constructed in Fruitland Park by The Villages is a cash cow for the Lake County School District, because these retirees will be paying school taxes while having no impact on the system. 

Lake County doesn’t have a money problem; rather, they have a leadership problem.  Sadly, teachers and students are suffering from the gross incompetence of the Lake County School Board.

The constant money drumbeat by School Board Chairman Bill Mathias is a distraction from the real issue.  Since Mathias has joined the Lake County School Board, the Lake County School District’s grade has dropped to a “C”; discipline has broken down at all levels; and, they have been mired in one off-the-wall distraction after another.

Money can’t fix bad leadership and terrible decisions.  It’s about time School Board Chairman Bill Mathias and the Lake County School Board take responsibility for the mess they have created and stop blaming taxpayers and businesses for not doing enough.

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4 Responses to “Lake County School District’s Self-Inflicted Money Woes”

  1. Ben Dover says:

    KARL ROVE[RER] – aka The Architect — ”WE’RE AN EMPIRE NOW”

    From his first day in public office, Jeb started working from the Karl Rove playbook and its strategic vision described so vividly in an interview with New York Times writer Ron Suskind at the time: “… guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He – Rove{rer] – cut me off. ”THAT’S NOT THE WAY THE WORLD REALLY WORKS ANYMORE,” HE CONTINUED. ”WE’RE AN EMPIRE NOW, AND WHEN WE ACT, WE CREATE OUR OWN REALITY. AND WHILE YOU’RE STUDYING THAT REALITY — JUDICIOUSLY, AS YOU WILL — WE’LL ACT AGAIN, CREATING OTHER NEW REALITIES, WHICH YOU CAN STUDY TOO, AND THAT’S HOW THINGS WILL SORT OUT. WE’RE HISTORY’S ACTORS . . . AND YOU, ALL OF YOU, WILL BE LEFT TO JUST STUDY WHAT WE DO.”

    Political insider Bill Mathias has about as much credibility as his friends Borders, Ritchie, Conner, Boss McKee, Carey Baker and all the rest of the Globalists puppets – About as much as Hillary Clinton. Mathias knows what all of these people are and what they stand for. He knows Rabbit Hole Bob McKee has used at least FOUR dated of birth and every document he has provided for government employment is fraudulent – McKee who has told people he is the Lake County untouchable god father has got over $500,000. plus $8,000. a month for the rest of his life lying on the table at the FRS Tallahassee Office – but he must retire and end all employment with any FRS involved entity to get the money. He’s afraid if he retires his decades of crimes will be more exposed than they already have been.

    If THEY didn’t feel like they were invincible “officials” like Bill Mathias would never make the disparaging remarks he made concerning ROMAC – one of Lake County’s longest surviving businesses – If he was not in fact owned and controlled by the Nazi’s in the extreme right wing he would simply accept the fact that this is America a nation of free speech where all people are entitled to their opinions without expecting a tongue lashing from the Gestapo government employee’s. Remember former Lake School Board safety expert Wolfgang Halbig exposed Jimmy Conner for arranging over $1 Million in excessive fees to be paid to his friends at Brown and Brown Insurance. He was fired by Dr. Susan Getford Moxley in 2009 – went on to be recognized as a national exert on school safety issues – while investigating the Sandy Hook Fiasco Lake Sheriff Gary Borders sent two deputies to his home TWICE to threaten him to stop asking questions about Sandy Hook or bad things were going to happen to him. After voting for Common Core (Even though Rick Scott changed the name it is copyrighted and still Common Core) Senator Alan Hays (Who watched his senate district vanish not once but twice) stood before the Lake School Board and begged them not to implement the Communist Common Core! What happened? Chairman Brandeburg and Stivender suddenly decided to retire and join the ranks of so many other former school board members. It was Stivender and Conner that done the trading places in 2008 even though the swap cost her salary and maybe even lower retirement benefits. Stivender was the one who was always going to tell everyone where the bones were buried from her old LCBCC days but then suddenly got mental pause when it come down to really doing so.

    May 20, 2014 – Rep. Charles Van Zant has spoken out against Common Core, and expressed opposition to the hiring of AIR. Van Zant expressed opposition to the hiring of a company to produce a new state test based on Common Core Standards. , The FDOE hired the American Institute of Research, or AIR, to produce a new test based on Common Core Standards at a cost of $220 million. Van Zant voiced a claim against AIR at an education conference in Orlando where he exposed Common Core is designed To make your children as homosexual as possible! AND He is RIGHT!

    Back in the day when government was really of the people, by the people and for the people the politicians were known as “public servants.” They knew their public service depended on serving the public mostly at large, but even then the powerful citrus king’s demanded more of their fair share of these “services.” Back in these days Florida State Representatives were paid $1,800 a year (And of course all they could steal.) Locals would actually take up money for gas for their trips to and from Tallahassee. Amazingly in one giant leap their annual salary went from $1,800. to $18,000. a year. Next come full time retirement benefits for part time jobs. Suddenly “public servants” like County commissioner’s and School Board members some who go to work less than 36 days a year were drawing as much or more retirement benefits as deputy sheriff’s, police officer’s and firemen. Soon these part time public servants are re-titled “leaders and Officials.” They network and join associations which provide them with “union like leadership.” Many like Conner was supported by SEIU and other unions. If they danced to the drums of the dark side – they were protected by the likes of Mel Sembler and George Schwartz Soros. All they have to do is follow the scripts provided to them

    It was said long ago, it’s better for one to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt! Jimmy “the mouth” Conner is so narcissistic he is still bumping his gums – recently pictures in the local paper with his old Bush family lawyer and partner Rick Scott breathing down Conner’s neck like he he is in love with Conner.

    Bill Mathias can’t pled ignorance now after these years of “official” service. [Please use the farmers definition.] Remember back when some people referred to you as “Mr Bill?” Well that was before people got to noticing the similarities between you and the likes of Gary Borders, Rick Scott, Jimmy Conner, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Charlie Crist and several others. Some call it the limp wrist syndrome – others say it comes from those secret Thursday night rituals. Maybe that’s why Jimmy missed that Thursday night political event! Where were you that night?

    The Communist Columnist from the Out of town rag says “make up your own mind “Citizens Speaking Out” should be called “Special Interests trying to Buy Elections.” Let’s make sure they can’t.”

    Man Oh Man [If you can find one that is!] one would have to have at least a touch of Marxism 101 to decipher this logic! This the same logic the Communists in the Democrat Party and the Nazi’s in the Republican Party are using to refuse to accept Donald J. Trump even though he has received more “Citizens Speaking Out” VOTES than any other candidate in the political history of the USA.

    The Communist Columnist then goes on to say “Mathias said he is worried that the anonymous contributor who thinks lying and backstabbing are acceptable campaign strategies might inject enough money into the contest to affect the outcome. Then, he said, what next? Will they start buying city races? School Board contests? Whoever it is, he said, needs to be exposed, and he’s right. Bill, what planet have you been “staying on?”

    Maybe you were busy in private business, but you must certainly know that Jimmy Conner spent the better part of four years as School Board Chairman in a constant shouting match with former State Representative last elected Supervisor of Education Anna Cowin the entire escapade of which was concocted for the sole purpose of garnering support to destroy that elected position and hand it over to the majority of the school board. Then Conner and his local leader self anointed god father Bob McKee hired after a national search Susan Getford Moxley- after lunching with McKee he provided Moxley interim office space in the historical courthouse in exchange for his wife’s elevation to full principal at Umatilla.

    And Bill are you going to try to tell us that you have never heard of Jimmy Conner after moving to the LCBCC strong arming the votes on the SB to support millions in over charges for insurance from his Brown & Brown buddy who probably shared his commission with insurance man Jimmy Conner. Why would Jimmy Conner commit a crime without compensation?

    Like the Communist Columnist at the out of town rag – every “comrade” has their assigned duty. In October 2006 on the night of the untimely and admittedly suspicious death of Lake Sheriff Daniels – Jimmy Conner then Chairman of the LCSB notified then Gov Bush by email before midnight. The next morning Sunday Oct. 15, 2006 Gov. Bush replied to Conner before 10 AM with two words “How Sad.” Jimmy Conner was then assigned the point man to start an email campaign to encourage Bush to appoint Lake Jail Chief Gary Borders [Who did not have one day of real law enforcement experience] as interim sheriff. Not that Bush needed the encouragement Borders had run the establishment’s secret Green isle Boys Ranch for two decades had already been assigned the job by Mel Sembler and his henchmen.

    If you are so dumb you have missed the last year of the establishment playing every card and trick in their “dirty tricks books” to stop Donald J. Trump and hand the GOPher [No disrespect intended to the creature who shares that name] nomination originally intended to be handed to Jeb – if not, then at least to one of their dark side minions [The list of which included all GOPher candidates with the exception of Trump and Dr. Ben Carson] and of course lastly when all else fails to the Bush boys sister in law Hillary.

    So now we have seen this come to pass – The Bush gang and their minion’s are supporting their sister in law Hillary Clinton – they are in fact working now working to get her elected in the Electoral College just like their did “W” in the 2000 race, even though Al Gore got more of the popular votes.

    Florida Not For Profit Corporation
    Filing Information: Document Number N44907FEI/EIN Number59-3512681
    Date Filed: 08/28/1991- State FL- Status ACTIVE Last Event REINSTATEMENT Event Date Filed10/09/2013

    What planet do they create these idiots on anyway? Many people have long ago exposed Rick Scott as Reptilian which explains his slimy looks and Gay demeanor. What else can we expect when Scott was the Straight, Inc, Dallas lawyer for Mel Sembler before coming to Florida in October 1987 to take over the International Medical Centers Medicare fraud scam and merge it into Columbia. In 1997 he and the Bushes merged Columbia into Tenet Healthcare – the longest ongoing Medicare RICO Scam in US history still stealing to this very day!

    Recently this former School Board Member made the following remarks on the RSOL FaceBook!

    Tod Howard School board had no debt for past 10 years and is now on a path to pay as you go, not sure how that is mismanagement. To pull school impact fees county wide at this point would be catastrophic. That action will absolutely force LCSB to incur additional debt. Being fiscally conservative without being fiscally responsible (many years ago) is what got LCSB in the mess they are in. I am all for reducing taxes bur it needs to be done in a responsible way.
    So according to this genius all these millions that the taxpayers have been paying principal and interest on for the last ten years is “no debt!” As of June 2015 the balance on the strangling debt load that was $368.2 million!

    He probably meant to say “The School board has incurred NO NEW DEBT for past 10 years.” But, even so his remark about how the School Board “is now on a path to pay as you go” is of course total male bovine feces. This is why they had to get the infrastructure tax renewed when they did – to insure they could use it for collateral in reworking the bonds from the LCBCC building fiasco and finagle the school bond debts around while kicking the can down the road. Meanwhile Bob McKee and his Domenico Scorpio “buttie” are counting their interest from their offshore investment courtesy of their victims the Lake County taxpayers.

    Words matter Tod Howard. Reminds me of the man who went to the doctor and asked to the castrated which the doctor quickly obliged. He awoke from the operation in a frantic screaming “Doctor I meant to say Vasectomy, Vasectomy!!!!!

  2. Thanks Right Side of Lake (RSOL) for opening the discussion who should pay for growth. Bottom line is GROWTH must pay for itself, putting debt on every taxpayer is not an option. FACT, prior school boards bonded over $600,000,000.00 in the mid 2000’s because the county commission bowed to RSOL rhetorical statement; growth would pay for itself and never fully funded the needs of the school district. RSOL is correct we spent $32m per year for that decision. RSOL (IE: Don Magruder an employee of Romac) supported lower impact fees because his employer benefited in the out of control growth; while the school district accumulated debt. I am committed to not let history repeat itself and I am fortunate to have an independent board that is more committed to preserving our public school system than bowing to special interest. Make NO MISTAKE Don Magruder works for ROMAC Lumber and has a vested interest (profits) in lower impact fees and has no interest in the students of Lake County.

    Mr. Magruder is a master of deception, first he knows factually, the special election for the one cent sales tax renewal did not cost the taxpayers $440,000. Second. he alleges a shake down of vendors for the sales tax renewal; not one person has come forward to support this claim. When I asked for a name, he said they were afraid of Commissioner Conner, OK now name the victim(s) …………….

    I guess if Mr. Magruder shouts loud (blog) enough what he says becomes truth?

    Mr. Magruder you have pointed out many concerns, I invite you to become engaged as a partner to solve the issue of fully funding growth facing our district. I look forward to your positive input.

  3. The Lake County School Board and the Lake County Commission are both wall-to-wall Republicans. If things are as bad as you say, perhaps the democrats deserve to take the wheel.

  4. Yet another horrendous case of mismanagement here in Lake County. Between the inept county commissioners squandering our tax money then raising our taxes to try and correct their inability to lead and financially manage effectively, to the same type of circus going on within the school board, we taxpayers don’t have a chance.

    Dig deeper folks because they will be coming after us for yet more money very soon !

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