What A Surprise – School Board Doesn’t Understand Basic Economics.

It appears that the Brevard School Board not only doesn’t understand the Constitution, the First Amendment, and the rights of people, but they have problems understanding basic laws of economics.

Mainly, if you are in a budget hole, don’t spend money.

The reason we bring this up is that the School Board gleefully announced that they were going to give each School District employee a one time bonus of $1000 for their efforts during COVID pandemic.

The Brevard County School Board announced Friday that all district employees would receive a $1,000 one-time “recognition payment” for “their unwavering commitment to making school year 2020-21 a success.”

According to a district news release, the School Board wanted to acknowledge the extra efforts of employees during the 2020-2021 school year, including teachers’ additional workload tackling hybrid learning; administrators’ extra hours contact tracing; and support staffs’ hard work providing customer service, meals, transportation and more.

“BPS teachers, staff and administrators have worked tirelessly this school year and, in a unique year, we wanted to provide a unique recognition for all of them,” School Board Chair Misty Belford said. “Our ability to save district money over the past several months put us in the position to do this, and we could not be any happier.”

The last data we could find for the number of employees is from Wikipedia Tha which states that in 2015, the District employed 9,500 people and had 74,000 pupils enrolled in the school system. That’s roughly 0.128 employee per student.

However, enrollment is expected to drop to the 70,000 student level which means approximately 9000 employees. (We know that it is rough math, but it gets us where we think we need to go.)

Therefore, the $1000 bonus is going to cost $9,000,000 (nine million) dollars.

We aren’t making a judgement on whether the bonus is warranted or not.

However, when you combine the bonus with this, you have a problem:

Brevard Public School officials say the budget for the 2021-2022 school year isn’t as dire as it initially appeared, but after years of consecutive budget cuts the district says there’s not much more to cut.

In February, the school district projected that it could lose $20.7 million in revenue due to a drop in enrollment. Instead, district officials told the board at a May 25 board meeting, the school district is anticipating a $16 million general revenue shortfall for the 2021-2022 school year.

“We’re gonna have to do our work and get back to where we were (but) we’re doing better than what we had originally projected,” Cindy Lesinski, BPS chief financial officer, said at a May 25 board workshop.

The $16 million gap will be filled by decreased classroom expenses from 2021 and anticipated in 2022 spurred by lower enrollment. The district hasn’t needed to hire as many teachers because there are fewer students, Lesinski said at the meeting, and the district expects to continue to save money next year because enrollment won’t return to pre-pandemic levels.

According to district calculations, BPS lost about 3,000 students during the 2020-2021 school year. The district expects to gain back about 1,200 next year. Because the district is funded largely based on student enrollment, each missing student was anticipated to represent a loss of several thousand dollars. The district enrolls more than 70,000 students.

If the Brevard County Schools are looking at a budget shortfall of $16 million, why is it spending over $9 million in bonuses?

No matter how much the School Board and the Teachers’ Union want to collaborate on bonuses and have a kumbaya moment after a tough contract negotiation, the basic economic truth is that you don’t spend what you don’t have. You can’t claim budget issues while spending on items outside of the budget.

We certainly wish the teachers and the staff of the Brevard County Schools well, but this is nuts.

In November, the School Board pushed for a 1/2 cent tax increase and the voters gave it to them. This was after the initial half cent tax was set to expire and the School Board and proponents of that tax said it would not be renewed. Someone lied because they came back and wanted the tax extended.

The School Board won’t live up to their oaths to uphold the Florida and Federal Constitutions, but they will spend money they don’t have like drunken sailors.

2 Responses to “What A Surprise – School Board Doesn’t Understand Basic Economics.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    I will never vote for another tax increase for ANYTHING until public/elected officials demonstrate they can act fiscally responsible. Your example above shows they don’t.

    The wisdom appears to be, we found some extra money so now we have to spend it. Unions negotiate contacts with wages, raises, and bonuses included, for the board to throw in extra money above the negotiated contract is wasteful.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Percy Veer,

      Thanks for the comment.

      We have to wonder if the people that sit on the dais treat their own finances the same as they treat the public’s money. Do they sit at home and spend money they don’t have? Do they pay FPL more than what is asked of them because the FPL workers work hard?

      Of course not.

      There is no accountability when boards are dealing with other peoples’ money.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.