Leaders show support for $1.2 billion bond issue

Miami-Dade voters to take up bond issue in November


MIAMI – Community leaders, including businessman Adolfo Henriques and former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning, showed their support for a $1.2 billion bond that would help Miami-Dade Public Schools repair rundown schools and build new ones.

"This is a day of progress and I'm glad to be part of the process," said Mourning, a member of the school bond "Leadership Team."

"Where you learn affects what you learn and everyone knows that," said Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado.

The group, which also included former Senator Bob Graham, gathered in Miami to show their support for the school bond issue that is on the November ballot.

"We cannot afford to have crumbing schools or crumbling infrastructure in our community. We value, we love our children that much," said Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto. "We ought to dignify them and their teachers with best possible environment."

While the learning condition is good, the physical condition of many schools, like Shenandoah Middle School, is poor. The result has been delayed repairs and funding from the state.

"We've done the best we can. We've waited for many years for Tallahassee to do the right thing, but the reality is, that at this point, that we can't wait any longer," said Regalado.

The bond issue will cost between $4 to $6 for every $100,000 of assessed valuation, or about $10 a year for the average homeowner.

Construction jobs could be added if voters say yes.

"So this bond referendum creates, in its first year, second year, 9,200 jobs for our community," said Carvalho.

It's been 24 years since Miami-Dade voters were asked to approve a $980 million school bond issue. But some in the black community felt they received the short end of the money, said Local 10's Senior Political Reporter Michael Putney.

"Today, I think we have an opportunity to repair the greatest damage of that particular bond issue, so clearly all of the schools listed, include many schools in black communities, throughout the black communities," said Gepsie Metellus, a member of the school bond "Leadership Team."

The school bond "Leadership Team" hopes to raise close to $1 million to get the bond issue approved.

Carvalho plans on appointing an oversight committee to make sure the money is spent only for the school if it's passed.