Save Education! Vote #223 on the Bond Referendum

Since it is a presidential election year, people feel that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything. Therefore, I thought I should add that I am a registered Democrat and Dr. Maria Peiro is a registered Republican. Yet, we both agree that giving our school board $1.2 BILLION dollars to play with is a very bad idea. In fact, it’s a road we don’t want taken by anyone.

This is her take on it. Love to know your thoughts.

Dr. Maria Peiro:

I will be voting NO and have told everyone to vote NO. There are still many underenrolled schools that could be closed and many other things that could be done to release money to fix the rest of the schools. The Miami Dade County Public School board wants to raise taxes the cowardly way. Put it on the referendum and if it passes, then it was the voters who voted for it. However, the voters are mostly misinformed about this. The school board members have wasted lots of capital improvement money that was previously given to them by the state. They have had flexibility in moving money from the general budget to the capital budget, and they have done so. Where did that money go?
Another point that needs to be spotlighted, I think what Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, the School Board, and Principals are doing to promote the bond referendum is ILLEGAL. They are using school resources to push people to vote yes for the referendum. Since that is something that is on the ballot, then it’s a political issue. Therefore, if they are advertising on the dadeschools website (I saw it many times in the teacher portal), sending out e-mails to employees (I received several e-mails), making tv and radio commercials, etc. they are using district resources.
If that is the case, then, they are using district  resources to create political advertisements. Let’s put it this way. If I as a teacher and employee of MDCPS am against the referendum, I would have to either create a PAC or put money from my own pocket to advertise against it. Wouldn’t I?
I wouldn’t be able to just go to the dadeschools website and put my own advertisement or send out e-mails via dadeschoools telling people to vote NO. I wouldn’t be able to put a sign outside my classroom telling people to vote No, etc. Dade school employees are not allowed to engage in political activities during school hours or use district resources for political activities. So, how is it legal for Carvalho and others to do it?
Just because they are in favor of the referendum passing, doesn’t exempt them from the law. The law doesn’t state that if they are in favor of something that is going to help schools that it is okay to engage in political activities or using district resources to push for it. I really think that they are breaking the law.
By the way, my Principal has a political advertisement on the school’s markee. It tells people to vote #222 for the referendum. That’s illegal, I am sure. I’m also sure that she didn’t think of it herself. That directive has to be coming from higher up. Yet, I’m not allowed to put a sign on school grounds telling people to vote NO or to vote in favor of a candidate. This also applies to the Principal whether it is believed to be a noble cause for the school or not.
Ok guys, what are your thoughts? I’m with Dr. Peiro on this one. Many politicians are asking if we are better off than we were four years ago? Take that same question to a Miami public school teacher and you will hear a loud NO!
Why?
  1. Media specialists and teachers are being surplussed which means that they are removed from the school but not fired. Supposedly, it is due to low enrollments in the schools yet, the number of administrators remains the same. So where do these surplussed teachers go? Many are being told to teach in areas in which they have no experience or certification. Yes, that’s right! Kids are being taught by uncertified teachers.  Electives are being eliminated little by little, drop by drop so no one notices until the glass is empty.  By the way, if schools are under enrollment, why make plans to build new schools?
  2. Students are being told that they must take virtual classes in lieu of a real human being who can be there to answer their questions, monitor their progress and ensure that they receive quality education. You don’t even want to know how many students are being crammed into these “computer labs”.  Some students are learning physical education in a virtual class. Don’t you find that bizarre? We want students to exercise and reduce risk of obesity so we give them gym class on a computer!
  3. Now they are asking the tax payers to give them more money to do whatever they want with in the name of quality education. There is never any form of transparency. Teachers haven’t had their contracts honored because the school board cries a poor mouth or threatens us with layoffs if they were to honor that contract. The United Teachers of Dade won’t stand up for us as well. Please don’t think we are like Chicago. We wish we had a union as strong as the one in Chicago.
If the school board wants us to live with the same amount of money we have had to live with for several years now, then they can do the same with the money that they have to run the school system. Don’t take it out of the tax payers’ pockets.
We need to spread the word and get people to remember to vote for #223
Here is the policy which they are breaking. http://www.neola.com/miamidade-fl/
1232 – POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
Administrative staff members shall not participate in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty.

Pursuant to State law and Policy 6480, administrative staff members may not expend public funds (that is, any funds under the jurisdiction or control of the District) for a political advertisement or electioneering communication concerning an issue, referendum, or amendment, including State questions, that is subject to a vote of the electors.
Administrative staff who declare themselves candidates for an elective office shall notify the Superintendent immediately upon filing to run. All candidates for public office may be granted personal leave without pay. The administrative staff member’s request for leave shall be submitted according to the established procedure.
Candidates shall adhere strictly to Florida law governing political activity on the part of public officials and public employees.
F.S. 104.31, 110.233
F.A.C. 60L-36.0023232 – POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
Employees shall not participate in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty.Pursuant to State law and Policy 6480, instructional staff members may not expend public funds (that is, any funds under the jurisdiction or control of the District) for a political advertisement or electioneering communication concerning an issue, referendum, or amendment, including State questions, that is subject to a vote of the electors.Instructional staff who declare themselves candidates for an elective office shall notify the Superintendent immediately upon filing to run. All candidates for public office may be granted personal leave without pay. The instructional staff member’s request for leave shall be submitted according to the established procedure.Candidates shall adhere strictly to Florida law governing political activity on the part of public officials and public employees.F.S. 104.31, 110.233
F.A.C. 60L-36.002

 So you know, each school is responsible for making copies with the paper, copy machine, toner, ink and personnel that comes from TAX PAYER’S taxes! 

This is the link to the state rules.  http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2010/104.31

 

Here are a few of the schools in violation of Florida statue 104.31

  • Lynn Atkinson

    No one should be able to use the e-mail system for this use. I have asked IT to remove all political ads, nothing has been done. Those of us who do speak up do receive retaliation in many ways. I would like a review of all upper management’s current ties with present employees that have been permitted to return from Drop, receive a full salary (top of the salary scale) several supplements, travel expenses and have no classroom responsibilities. Why are these practices permitted when young educators are denied employment and could be working with kids?
    Allowing more funds to come into a system with no real checks and balances for accountability is a waste of resources at a time when taxpayers are hurting. We the educators know the wastes, and yet we let others overshadow our profession, and dictate needless purchases and personnel with little or no responsibilities to students. We need to take our profession back from those who care very little for students and educators.

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      Lynn, I totally agree with you. We need to document everything that happens to us. That’s what I do. Last week there was a crazy incident in the classroom and I documented the entire incident. It had nothing to do with the students so that was good. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Warren Lutz

    As long as there is a UNION and MIS-MANAGEMENT, there will NEVER be “enough” money. Remember the lottery?

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      It’s sad to think that no one speaks about the lottery switcharoo! I agree with you, Warren. Are you a teacher as well?

      Hi, Jamie! Thank you for commenting. Are you a teacher?
      I am a teacher and so is Maria Peiro the co-writer of this post. We are actually very well informed. Unless you can actually show us where we got our facts wrong, I would say that we are extremely accurate in our statements.

      The most interesting comment you made was when you asked if I cared about teachers. Of course, I do. I am a teacher.

      The question is does the school board and superintendent care about teachers? If so, then why haven’t they kept their end of the contract?

      Thanks again, Jamie for giving your opinion.

  • Jamie

    Your thoughts are completely WRONG! Who else will ask for a bond to help crumbling schools other than the School Board and Superintendent? They are very carefully explaining the issue on the dadeschools.net website as do many other community entities regarding ballot issues!
    Have you heard Carvalho actually say the words, please vote yes? NO you have not!
    Only an selfish, uninformed person would vote no. What you are saying is I don’t care about the teachers or students environments! Obviously you haven’t seen the repairs needed in YOUR area and you choose to not care about those in other areas.
    You assume there will be no accountability and you would be wrong!
    The financial impact over the life of the bond on YOU would be less than $10, get over yourself!

    • Carolina Milyanovich

      Jamie, did you listen to any part of the school board meeting last Wednesday? If you did, you heard them say several times to vote yes on 222. So, yes, Carvalho and company are trying to influence the vote.

      If I, as a teacher, mass e-mailed my political view from the district e-mail, I would be called on it and reprimanded.

      The question here is not if Nathasha cares about our students’ environments. The issue is that based on past management of funds, the money will most likely not be used in the best (or even promised) manner. Even if it is just $10 out of your pocket, wouldn’t you want it used honestly, and in the most beneficial (for the KIDS) way possible?

      If you care about the kids, you must also care about their teachers, if not, in time you will see a decline in the quality of your child’s education.

      • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

        Very well said, Carolina. It’s important that we not only educate our students in the classroom but also the community outside of the classroom. Did you know that many schools are using the marquees to advertise a YES vote? That is not allowed at all.

    • Carolina Milyanovich

      Additionally, I am neither selfish nor uninformed, and I will tell everyone I know to vote NO on 222.

    • Diane

      Could this “Jamie” be the “Chief Facilities Officer” of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Would that not be a bit self-serving? Or are we to believe he is only interested in good things for the “kids.” Taxpayers in Miami-Dade get these kind of messages whenever big money things get put on our ballots! Where is the information on the dark side of this issue?

      • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

        That’s a good point. I never connected those two dots. Thank you. Today, I met five other teachers who said that they were told to inform their parents that voting YES would help them.

    • Ada Fennell

      Jamie,
      Believe there is accountability at the district?!
      Here’s a question for you: Where the hundreds of millions of ARRA money go? You wouldn’t just happen to be the district’s facilities officer would you?
      Not a PENNY of that money got to the schools and teachers have not had contracts renewed and/or been surplussed in droves.
      I guess it doesn’t matter to the district that our students don’t even have soap to wash their hands in the bathrooms, and custodians clean with plain water or buy cleaning supplies out of their own pockets.
      More money for more computers so that teachers are replaced by computers. It is already happening people, wake up.

  • Steve New

    I’m voting no, and all my neighbors (about 150 people on 3 streets) always vote the way I tell them to on educational issues. I’m telling them to vote no. This district doesn’t care about students nor teachers. They show it every year when they sock money away in reserves refusing to pay our steps. If you look at the money that is being sloshed into the reserve fund, they have plenty of money and they aren’t going to spend it wisely anyway. Teachers make the district look really good by working our butts off. It’s about time all teachers tell their neighbors to vote no. Your neighbors know that you are a teacher and they will vote the way you tell them to.

  • Annette Jones

    God bless each of you! I am not a teacher, but I do work within the district. I am voting NO! My daughter is a middle school teacher and seeing what she has had to do endure prior to this assignment was appalling. No one seems to appreciate the selfless job of the educator. I applaud you for what you do every day without so much as a thank you from those asking you to support this referendum. I will continue to spread the word. I don’t believe this money will be properly allocated even if a watchdog group is monitoring the spending. My trust level for those in charge has been reduced to nil. Hopefully we’ll convince enough people to vote this down. I know I’ll do my part. Again, thank you for all you do.

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      Annette, thanks for visiting the site. I will continue to post more information here as well as on the facebook page that I had made when I ran for school board a couple of years ago. Facebook won’t let me change the name of the page. But oh well.

      It should be a concern to the average voter when people who work within the system can’t trust the school board with $1.2 BILLION dollars. If they had kept their end of the contract, I’d be more inclined to vote YES.
      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. (That’s not going to happen again with me.)

      Here is the link join us there if you have facebook. You can share this with everyone. Where does your daughter teach?

      • Mimi

        I saw signs today at a public school that read Vote 222. I called the elections dept. They said this is illegal. I called the school and district office. The signs were taken down within the hour. You may want to call the elections dept and complain or report this. According to them, this is not legal. I will vote no and encourage others to do so.

  • Carolina Milyanovich

    Thanks, Mimi!
    Did you know they are also pushing the vote in other ways (i.e. flyers sent home, mentioned at meetings)? If they’re not following election rules, who’s to say they’ll follow any other rules?

  • Claudia

    Are you joking? There are other issues on the November ballot that are trying to screw over tax payers , but the school bond referendum is definitely not one of them. If this passes then schools that are in need of an upgrade will have funds for renovation no matter where they are located, which means every school no matter the zip code will be helped. 222 was created for the benefit of STUDENTS and TEACHERS! As far as how they’ve gotten their message across- how else would you have liked them to spread awareness, or would you have preferred to see it on the ballot and have no idea what it was? Jaime was right- when talking about 222, the superintendent and school board members have been honest in explaining exactly what this school bond referendum would do. Also, if you have an issue you should take it up with your union rep because last time I checked the school board and UTD were on good terms and as for your question on whether Carvalho cares about teachers- he has gone out of his way to protect the rights and jobs of teachers. Compared to other cities (Chicago) dade county teachers have it pretty good.

    • Steve

      Actually, Chicago teachers make significantly more than dade county teachers. And if it takes getting rid of some unneeded teachers to get the rest of us raises, that is the responsible way to act. This district & school board just wants to funnel money into the hands of construction & vendor friends like the used to.

      • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

        Teachers make more money in Chicago. They can strike. They have a stronger leadership in their union.

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      Claudia, I wish I were joking. There are probably more issues on the ballot that are not right but I am focusing on this one because it will rob the citizens of Miami $1.2 BILLION DOLLARS. This bond wasn’t created for the benefit of anyone but the people who will be profiting from the construction.
      As for how they send their message to others, I have this to you ask you? Are you aware of the laws and policies set forth regarding this situation? I have a strong feeling that you don’t know that what they are doing goes against the rules set forth for this kind of voting.

      I prefer people know about the ballot through the news or by…I DON’T KNOW..reading the Ballot!

      The school board and Superintendent can talk about the issue at the school board meeting but they can’t use the schools to send their political message to the voters. That is against the rules.
      They haven’t been honest about the way they are going to use the money. What they say to you is different than what they actually do.

      The school board and UTD are on good terms because the UTD leadership is so corrupt that they can’t even hold an election without going to the courts for messing with the ballots. That should tell you plenty about their ethics.

      Chicago did what the teachers of Miami want to do…strike!

      Teachers are being surplussed. Do you know what that is? That’s where they are removed from the school and placed elsewhere. The problem is that many are being placed in areas where they are not certified.

      More and more, kids are being placed in computer labs and told to learn on their own in front of a computer screen.

      YOU consider that quality education? I consider that highway robbery.
      Educate yourself on what goes on in the school board.
      Read my blog again this weekend. I will be telling you about an administrator who treats her teachers like slaves. Do you know what they are going to do for her? Promote her downtown. Go figure that one out.

      Thank you for commenting. Please come back again.

    • Diane

      Claudia!!! HOW DO YOU KNOW???

  • Steve

    It is funny how the district doesn’t allow teachers to make photocopies, but they use tax payer money (not to edicate students, bu instead) to photocopy thousands of fliers to send home with students. The misuse of funds is flagrant. Amd they should not be fiven more money until they use their current funds responsobly. Citizens & teachers are fed up with this district.

  • Allison Duncan

    Claudia, there are two separate school systems in Miami Dade County: the one that Carvalho brags about to make himself look good and the one in which the teachers work! Ask any teacher.

    • Ada Fennell

      Amen!

  • Ada Fennell

    They can’t be trusted with any more tax payer money:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/20/3059693/broken-promises-marred-last-miami.html

  • Minnie Mouse

    For a language arts teacher, you sure have a lot of capitalization errors and run-on sentences. You are also doing something illegal, which is blogging on your site during school hours. You are nothing but a miserable teacher, and you give all of us who work hard a bad name. Why don’t you use your time wisely and focus on your students?!!!!

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      Dear Minnie Mouse,

      1. I didn’t write any of my posts during school hours. I am too busy teaching. Do you have proof that I did? This would be shocking.
      2. I don’t really think you are a teacher. You might pretend to be one during the day. But I don’t think you are truly a teacher. If you were, you would have proofread your comment. You point a finger at my writing? I point a finger at your entire comment. I would give it a 2 if it were a FCAT writing essay. You have no supporting details. You have too many exclamation points. Your tone seems a bit immature and uneducated. You should be more articulate when you want to write a reaction paper or in this case, a comment.
      3. I understand why you call yourself Minnie Mouse. You’re scared. No one else but you has posted anonymously. What are you afraid of?

      Say hi to Mickey and Pinocchio!

      If you are a teacher, meet me at the next school board meeting. I will be there.

      • Minnie Mouse

        No one cares what you have to say. Really.

        • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

          No one? Ok. Keep that thought. Yet, you read it. And so did 1,239 people so far. Haven’t even made the video for YouTube. Can’t wait. Thanks for your comment. Oh, turns out that you commented on my blog during your work hours. Tsk, tsk.

  • Rick Lapworth

    Hi,
    I’m upset at all the money the district pays for ed-tech that is redundant, remedial, never-approved by those who are forced to use it. I call it CRRAP (computer remedial/redundant academic programs). If a student needs help in algebra they should just stay after school to get tutoring from a PERSON that can teach and answer/meet their specific need (something no software can do). But no, we buy Gizmos, Riverdeep, Cognitive tutor, etc (ad-nauseum), which have little evidence of being significantly efficacious (whereas, the efficacy of a competent teacher is well-documented).
    So, all these companies see growing profits as MDCPS buys their products (and who knows about “back-room” lobbyist/vendor “rewards”), while my salary has been unjustly stagnated for 5 years? The teacher that left MDCPS to be our Gizmo-trainer now makes much more money than me, yet he cannot claim he has any direct effect on learning.
    All this software was never requested by the teachers, nor are our opinions solicited at the bidding stage, and very little at the feedback stage.
    I teach, whereas the I-pad does what (simulates teaching)?
    So, give me a fair wage and quit spending money on unneeded technology. I call it “golden-hammer worship”, the idolatry, and obsession, of having the “latest cutting edge” tech, that has little, to no, pedagogic value. The old “iron hammer” of chalk-boards and books is just fine.
    Think, the generation that had black-white textbooks, chalkboards and slide-rules developed the Space program; which is proof that tech in and of itself is no guarentee of better teaching or learning.
    AI can never replace RI (real intelligence is in humans, not machines).

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      Thank you so much for commenting. I’m glad you posted here rather than The Miami Herald. At least here you will get a fair shot of being heard. Share this with your friends. Together we can help others from looking the other way.

  • Georgina Vail

    I do not know how to get into touch with you but I am so glad I found your website. I am scared fro you becuase I feel that if you diagree with the status quo your going to be fired.

    Anyway, I just don’t understand how all of the schools can put vote#222 on their marquees, my principal paid for a school bus (where did the moeny come from) to take teachers and parents to a town hall meeting and how this is allowed?

    Also, have your heard about Nikolai Vitti – he is the young genius that started the ETO schools and left to become superintendent at Duval schools. From what I understand he took Milly Fornell’s job tite to make him look more attractive as a superintendent candidate. She got a inexplicable lateral move…

    Anyway, somehow he manageed to be in Boston and Miami at the same time, was made principal at Homestead High for 1 year and all of this in a 10 year span never once having taught in a Miami Dade classroom. Something just doesn’t sound right. Just like Carvahlo who was a teacher for only 3 years and then made an A.P.?

    I am so cynical at this point. “it’s about the kids” yeah right, just like Raquel Regalado showing up to the Broad Prize in NYC as if she had something to do with earning it.

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      Don’t be afraid. I won’t get fired for exercising my right to freedom of speech during my own personal hours. I am more afraid of the direction of our leadership in education. Do you care to share with me your school name? You could have filed a complaint with the FEC because what your principal did is a direct violation of FL 104.31

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s important that we stay informed. I recently found out as you will read in my next post that the Miami Herald and our school system have a shared department so that we can continue to receive bias information.

      People don’t want to see how crooked this place has become over the years.

      Alberto Carvahlo’s work as a teacher leaves little to be desired. But people don’t understand that. That’s why we are FLORIDUH

  • Sarah

    I’m glad most of the citizens in Miami-Dade County was smart enough to vote YES on 222.

    Sincerely,

    a middle school teacher who cares

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      I’m very happy you are happy. If it makes you happy then it makes me happy. But only time will tell who the smart ones were in this decision. In the meantime, I am glad to know another middle school teacher. Are you knowledgeable about the back door deals that go on with our school system? Love to hear what you have to say about all of the money that gets sent to places other than the children. Take care.