Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Money For Education: FACEBOOK

FACEBOOK founder and CEO Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, 26, today donated $100 million to the Newark, NJ school system. He does not live in Newark, NJ. There was no other source of money seen coming into the school system, as local taxpayers are against tax increases, state governments are stretched to make their budgets balance. The sad fact is there is no realistic way to steer more money into the school system. Here in Broward County, we may have a better chance than most of the country- Broward School District is a separate taxing entity in Broward County. It is the 6th largest School District in the United States. In addition to receiving state of Florida funds, it has the ability to levy taxes on property owners in Broward County independently (and in addition) of the County Commission. Florida State Lottery pays money to schools. Bright Futures scholarships are funded by the State Lottery. Maybe higher jackpots and payouts will attract more people to play, and result in more money for the school system. More money would mean more pay for teachers- more teachers mean smaller class sizes and greater attention on individual students so it’s a great benefit. But if property values are down from last year, the only way to get more money for the school system is to raise taxes. Raising taxes is not very popular, just yesterday in Miami, Norman Braman vowed to recall (remove) Miami-Dade County Commissioners if they tried to raise taxes on property owners. School taxes on property owners is already a touchy subject, because many property owners (who own second residences here) do not have children attending local schools. Incomes are down, and so are taxes on income, but Florida has no state tax on income so that is not a source of revenue to schools. A tourist tax increase on people visiting Florida might be a source of additional money for schools. Also an increase on the tax for gambling casinos might provide much needed income. It is not easy in this day and age to find more money for schools. Benefits (health care and pension plan) are taking a bigger piece of the budget than salaries. Zero Interest Rate Policies (ZIRP) of the Federal Government make retirement calculations even more expensive. When there is nowhere else to look for money, maybe the only place to go is where the students go themselves: FACEBOOK. It’s awesome that Mark Zuckerberg is giving back some of the money generated by the people who attend the schools of the Newark School System. The dollars are out there somewhere.

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