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School Board Trying To Prevent Duval County Tax Revenue From Being Shifted To Charter Schools

Scott Shine

After years of watching state dollars go toward improving charter schools, the Duval County School Board is scrambling to shield local tax revenues from being drained as well.

School Board member Scott Shine says there’s reason to worry.

“Right now, charter schools don’t share any of the ad valorem taxes,” Shine said. “However, there are discussions in Tallahassee that that may start in the future.”

Shine says this would be a very bad idea. For one thing, he says, Duval County’s aging public-school buildings need expensive upgrades. Plus, Shine says, taxpayers will see a return on their investment if the buildings are sold or otherwise re-purposed. Not so with charter schools. Even though the schools are non-profits, Shine explains, the properties they lease often belong to for-profit companies.

“So this would be a way that additional tax money would flow through the charter schools to for-profit corporations which may or may not be local Duval County entities.”

School board members said at their legislative workshop Tuesday morning they’d like the Legislature to protect local tax dollars from going to charter schools.

Board members also plan to hold a public workshop on charter schools soon.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.