Miami-Dade County School Board votes to put $1.2B bond on Nov. ballot

Florida Department of Education approves request for $1.2B General Obligation Bond

Published On: Aug 30 2012 04:18:17 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 16 2012 11:34:21 AM EDT
MIAMI -

The Miami-Dade County School Board voted to place a $1.2 billion bond referendum on the November 6 ballot.

Last week, the school board voted 7-2 in support of the bond to renovate the infrastructure and upgrade the technology of the county's schools.

The Florida Department of Education has since approved the school board's request for the General Obligation (GO) Bond.

If voters approve the General Obligation Bond referendum, property owners would pay an extra $10 a year. The proceeds would be used to modernize and construct schools throughout the district, including technology upgrades at all schools.

The school board said the bond referendum as GOs issued in 1988 are being paid off; construction costs are significantly lower than their peak and interest rates are at historical lows.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the board promises to make the entire process from start to the last dime spent transparent. A website detailing the schools, projects and costs is planned to be up and running in the next couple weeks. A smartphone app to track the process is also forthcoming, Carvalho said.

The school board says that approval by the voters of bond is essential to the district as it seeks a more sustainable solution to its financial capital shortfall.

In a new release Tuesday, the school board said, "Almost half of the District's school buildings are over 40 years old, and over one third are more than 50 years old. The downturn in the real estate market over the last five years and the decrease in state capital funding have compounded the capital funding shortfall.  It is impossible for the District to address the mounting needs of the aging schools and fund state-of-the-art technology for all schools without a voter-approved solution."