By Richard Lamken
Schools division lead in County Citizens Defending Freedom
Nassau County School District is # 2 in the state and aspires to be # 1. St. Johns is the # 1 county in Florida for K-12 Education.
Nassau spends $8,619 per student and St. Johns spends $8,050 per pupil.
That is to say, St. Johns spends $569 less per pupil or 7.1% less than Nassau County. With our current enrollment of 12,587, that’s an excess of almost $7.2 million per-pupil spending vs. St. Johns.
St. Johns also pays its teachers more than Nassau. A teacher with 20 years’ experience in St. Johns makes 7.6% more than in Nassau.
Add $7.2 million in excess spending to the $9 million in new state funding that Nassau County will receive from the for 2022-2023, that’s $16.2 million that gives us the opportunity to pay fair and competitive salaries to our teachers and our support personnel and still have money to address issues like the arts and school safety.
Do we really need a 1 mil tax increase, or do we already have the money and just need to manage our spending more effectively?
Based on our organization’s analysis, we have the money to compensate our employees well using only our current local, state and federal revenues and still achieve our stated goal of being # 1 in the state.
Imagine how many dollars could be uncovered by a citizens budget advisory committee given access to the entire $250 million budget. Citizens deserve a voice in determining how well the school district budget meets the needs of our children, reflects the priorities and values of our community, adequately compensates our teachers and protects our students.
We have volunteers willing to serve who are skilled at finding inefficiencies, redundancies, and overspending and who are experts in the school budget process.
We too are all about becoming the best school district, and we don’t limit ourselves to just being the best in Florida.