Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho asks for $1.2B for schools

Money would pay for upgrades, construction for new schools

MIAMI - The Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools is asking taxpayers for $1.2 billion to build and upgrade schools in the district.

"The need is here. The time is now," said Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

Carvalho outlined his capital improvement plan Wednesday afternoon.

"This plan will ensure that 100 percent of the dollars raised, if approved, will be invested back into our community," said Carvalho.

The general observation bonds that would be issued are basically a loan that would be paid back with future tax revenues. The money would build new schools, repairs old ones, and pay for technology equity for all students.

"We have the lowest interest rate in memory. This is the time to borrow money to implement the renovations that are needed," said Thomas Dixon, who supports the bond.

A parade of speakers -- architects, engineers, and union leaders -- urged the school board to approve the bond issue. But not everyone was in favor.

"I'm completely opposed to this," said Rev. Gary Johnson, a community activist. "I can't even believe we are having this discussion of raising taxes in our community. The people are suffering."

More than half the schools in Miami-Dade are 40 years old or older. All schools have received only basic maintenance for the last three years.

"There is no other solution. So if there is no other solution then the question could be asked, 'Why now? Why not later?' Because the need is here," said Carvalho.

The school board was still debating the bond issue proposal at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.