How did we get here?

Change for Change
Fact 1: Improvements in Student Achievements
Fact 2: Job Opportunities and a Better Educated Workforce
Economic Health of the Community Workforce
Fact 4: Better Prepared for Natural Disasters

Beginning in 2008, the school district's tax roll decreased over 40%, while tax rates dropped 25%, from 2.0 to 1.5. In addition, other capital funding from state sources was either eliminated or significantly reduced, and impact fees were reduced between 45-80%. The resulting impact of all these changes was a reduction of annual capital funding of over $200 million per year. At the same time, student population grew (and continues to grow) one to two percent per year, approximately 1,500-2,000 students. That growth is the equivalent of one school each year! We predict we will need 7 new schools in the next five years. The combination of aggressive growth and funding reductions created a situation where existing funding is not enough to keep up with the need for new schools to accommodate our rapid growth, and sustain the maintenance and upgrades that are desperately needed in our existing aging facilities.

Capital Funds Graph

Beginning in fiscal year 2018, all Florida school districts will be mandated to share a portion of their revenue with charter schools, reducing capital for public schools even more.

District Debt

After ten years the tax will sunsetThink of the debt like a mortgage. The School District of Lee County’s current outstanding debt (mortgage) is $431,000,000. By the time we are done paying off the debt (mortgage) it will cost $555,000,000. We pay about $51,000,000 per year on the debt, just like a mortgage payment. That is money currently going to a bank, when we could use it to fund capital projects. If the sales tax initiative does not pass, we will have to borrow more money, which means we will pay more money to banks, rather than keeping it within our district.