If it were not for a group of Stalwart Americans, Martin County Parents United, this story would not have seen the light of day. We are proud to have the MCPU as our newest Watchdog Contributor organization.
Please help us in welcoming MCPU to the TAM – The story below is one of many we are preparing to help keep you informed. This one is big.
Regarding the Martin County School Board & the recent Property Tax Referendums of 2018:
There are some questions that need to be asked. The questions the TAM is asking revolve around your personal wallet, voter trust and less than ethical standards of practice by the School Board and the Union.
The worst part of this story is how the referendum was sold to you as your children’s future with bright heart tugging angels smiling while putting their hands in your pocket and pulling out whatever loose change you may have left.
This article will show you what can happen once you vote to give a government agency more of your hard-earned income. We will talk About how the “Ask for Money” by the Martin County School Board (MCSB) that we Voted on in 2018 was sold to us as one thing, and then the money is used for things other than what We THE PEOPLE agreed on. Our goal is to demonstrate how actions by the few can greatly affect the many.
If you think that integrity in the electoral process and honoring commitment by those elected is important, well this is your story.
On a ballot referendum in 2018 that was presented to the voters in Martin County there were promises that were made about how the School Board would spend the money if the referendum was approved. This story will show you how those promises have been broken to the tune of $4,000,000.00 over the course of the four year payouts.
August 28, 2018 – Shall the Martin County School District increase ad valorem millage by one-half mill per year, beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2022, to fund essential operating expenses for: School safety and security for all schools, mental health programs, recruiting and training qualified teachers, professional development for teachers and staff, and academic initiatives; with annual reporting to the county’s citizens to ensure fiscal stewardship?
Yes – 22,187 No – 17,586
When the TAM investigated how the money was actually allocated, we found ourselves with a lot more questions that need answered. One is how your school Board arrived at their allocation levels of spending after YOU and I gave them 11.2 million dollars of the Martin County Property Owners money. Which was purposefully peddled as a TEMPORARY “Raise for the Teachers” for our Children’s Future.
Once you see how over a million dollars was allocated to non-referendum expense for this fiscal year alone, you will surely be as upset as are we. After you see how the MCSB got into your pockets and played deflection games you will see why It is just flat out smoke and mirrors as well as wrong on their part. They have violated a trust.
The Martin County School Boards decision to reallocate Voter approved funds to ‘Bargaining Units’ other than what was on the ballot, is even worse yet. This is a major violation of Public Trust, especially after the tax payers and Voters approval via a ballot referendum. This all came about after the referendum was passed.
Let me explain, once the millage vote passed any monies designated for TEACHERS were required by law to be negotiated by the teacher’s union. So the pot was broken up into the five buckets that were specified on the referendum. 77.43 % was allocated for TEACHERS.
Enter MCEA, Martin County Education Association. It was this negotiation between the Union President and the MCSD representative that the language was changed from “TEACHERS” to “ALL MEMBERS OF THE BARGAINING UNIT”.
We were told before the vote that this millage would “RETAIN” our qualified teachers and that this millage increase would allow us to keep these teachers here in Martin County. We were sold a story that the counties to our North and South paid their teachers a significant amount more and we needed to do the same.
Let’s peek at a few examples of who did receive portions of the 77.43% of the millage allocated for Teachers.
Behavioral Specialist, Dean’s, Digital Learning Specialists, Instructional “coaches”, Intervention/Prob solving coaches, Lifelong learning instructors, literacy coaches, Media specialists, Occupational specialists at an alternative school, Program specialists, School Counselor’s, Speech pathologists, Bilingual specialist, Digital learning coach, Headstart program, ESE support facilitator and Transition specialist. To name but a small few.
|MCEA||MARTIN, PATRICIA||LIFELONG LEARNING INSTRUCTOR||10,000.00|
|MCEA||SITERS, KELLI||DEAN HIGH SCHOOL||10,000.00|
|MCEA||AMAYA, SONIA||ADULT INSTRUCTION – GED – HOURLY – INST ADULT EDUCATION||15,600.00|
|MCEA||GIALLANZO, SHELLEY||LIFELONG LEARNING INSTRUCTOR||15,600.00|
|MCEA||HARTMAN, BRANDY||LIFELONG LEARNING INSTRUCTOR||15,600.00|
|MCEA||HOGG, SARAH||INTERVENTION/PROB SOLV COACH||15,600.00|
|MCEA||HRZIC, KAREN||TEACHER HOME/HOSPITAL ESE – H/H||15,600.00|
|MCEA||MONTESSI, LINDA||INTERVENTION/PROB SOLVE COACH ESE||15,600.00|
|MCEA||NORMAN, JILL||ADULT INSTRUCTION – GED – HOURLY – INST ADULT EDUCATION||15,600.00|
*(editors update: 09/15/20 – Two persons on the list above to remove their names from it. They have indicated the information is not accurate. The information you see above is public record. A request has been made more than once of the System to provide updated numbers to show this was corrected. To date they have failed to do so. This is the last SUNSHINE document that was provided.
We have been told that LAST YEARS numbers and corrections are coming to a conclusion and that this years would be forth coming.When we receive them we will update you accordingly.
The information is public record. If there is a change to this record that anyone would like to provide to reflect that the numbers have been corrected then please e-mail us here Editor@TalkAboutMartin.com – We will be the very first to advance the Truth and let everyone know we are making progress towards the Truth)
The MCSB, during workshops, came up with a payment to Teachers based on years of service:
- 0-5 years of service gave a stipend of $1,800
- 6-9 years $5,000
- 10 or more $7,800.
Posted above are payments in excess of what was negotiated. Can anyone at the MCSD or MCSB show their math on this Common Core nightmare? We are asking that you show us the public record documentation reflecting the numbers if these are wrong. Because, this is all you have on record that is available.
A weak kneed MCSB negotiation was had with the Union President. It began rewriting the outcome of the vote by finding places to place the money other than where you said it was supposed to go. The ballot clearly says “TEACHERS” and that is who should have received the 77.43%.
Let’s break the language down for a second from the referendum.
There are (5) Five potential categories the money could have been divided among according to the verbiage that “We The People” agreed to:
All Categories are to fund the essential operating expenses for:
- School Safety and Security for all Schools
- Mental Health Programs
- Recruiting and Training Qualified Teachers
- Professional Development for Teachers and Staff
- Academic Initiatives
Here are how the allocation allotments turned out:
So, on the surface this all looks great. 77.43% of the Money was allocated to increase the pay of Teacher Recruiting and Retaining Teachers.
What does that mean though, exactly? What is meant by Recruitment and Retention?
Well as it turns out they meant what basically amounts to a pay raise but they can’t actually ask you the Voter to use it for a pay raise by Law. So, they use this category to pay the money out directly to the Teachers in their pay check as a “Stipend”. I guess recruitment means a signing Bonus?
These are some of the cute little backdoor gimmicks that are used to manipulate your generosity for their benefit.
Wait, this gets even worse. As it turns out the $1,000,000.00 line item under Academic Initiatives provided “Stipend” to all non-instructional Personnel (approx. 1000) in the Union. Wait What? Under a category of Academic Initiatives?
Notice also that the reallocation is scheduled to take place for two more years. So, a total of $4,000,000.00 will be kept from the TEACHERS pockets over the course of the process.
Academic – of or relating to performance in courses of study
Initiative – an introductory step
So, programs like the Foundational Reading Skills Program that received $116,000.00 is an Academic Initiative. I think we can all see the truth in that as being under the classification of Academic Initiatives. At least according to our common language.
Wait until you see the New Speak used by the MCSB General Council to infer that a NON-QUALIFIED TEACHER was receiving a paycheck stipend under the guise of Academic Initiatives. Initiatives are programs and they relate to academics. Not peoples take home pay.
The worst part of this is that if the $1,000,000.00 had been allocated for the Teachers or Security, we could have bolstered both a little bit more. But what was done in reality is sad.
This all has a bad taste and seems really wrong.
While reallocating the money in and of itself is a blatant disregard of your trust. It is equally a violation of the honor of office holders title to not honor their own Voter Ballot initiatives verbiage.
Talk About a break down in rule of law and trust in the electoral system. At a time that we are already causing great stress fractures of confidence in our County governments and practices, this action just adds fuel to the fire.
This is why each of us has to be a part of the equation of Liberty. This is why you and I, in the light of day, each of us must speak to matters that affect us. We must ask questions. We must be informed of the elected ruling class and what it is doing in “our Interest “. Their agenda is not always our agenda.
Again, our YES vote gave 11.2 Million Dollars towards School Safety & Security, Mental Health Programs, Recruiting & Retaining Teachers, Professional Development of Staff and academic Initiatives, in the Martin County School District. There was never a mention of money going into any one’s pocket directly in the Referendum, let alone to people other than “Qualified Teachers”.
Even though the Referendum language required oversight of the expenditure, the MCSB wanted to keep that oversight internal. Among strong protest from the School District and one Board member, a group of Stalwart individuals demanded the School Board establish a Citizens Advisory and Oversight Committee to observe the process of fund distribution in the Sunshine. This Committee of Citizen Volunteers has been working to make sure your interest is served. We all owe them a big thank you. Great Job you are Great Americans.
Shortly thereafter a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was presented to and signed by the Teachers Union President and The Superintendent of Schools Ms. Gaylord. The Union President accepted the MOA out of hand from the School Board.
The MOA obligated the union to nothing and it allowed the Board to re-allocate the money to other areas of the School system based upon the Unions Negotiated Agreement. Not your Voted upon agreement.
Actually, it is near Orwellian and definitely a look at a real-life Animal Farm when you see how some are more equal than others in the Union. Each person in the Union is valued as a “Bargaining Unit”. It must be great to know your skill set is reduced to the value of a bargaining unit. No wonder our schools are in so much turmoil. Some Union Members have a greater Unit value based upon formulas that determine where you are on the scale of equal distribution of funds.
Now, the District, Board and Union was to become the intermediary decision maker for the Board as to how the TEACHERS MONEY that we voted on and approved, was spent. It also determined who else, if anyone, would get a slice of the pie and how much of the pie would go where. A cozy and convenient way to enrich both classes of the ruling elite and fleece your pocket book and wallet.
As it turns out the Teachers slice of the pie got a whole lot smaller than what we agreed to in the Voter Ballot Referendum. Now it seems that the same advisory Council the Board so eagerly tried to discourage is being used to cloak the measures of the Board and the Union President.
We have to ask, why?
The initial Ballot referendum asked for you the Voter to give more of your hard earned over taxed income to pay for recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, professional development for teachers and staff, and academic initiatives.
Once the MOA was introduced though the pay window for the Union as Concession was opened.
There was never a mention of the District/Board and Union getting the money to spread the love as they saw fit in the referendum, no that came with the MOA. Now your money for the categories above is making its way directly to the pockets of people not even inferred in the initiative. Remember, over 1000 non-teaching personnel or Bargaining Units received stipend too.
The referendum was discussed in great detail and the board and district made it very clear that the money was to go to teacher pay, and those group’s that worked towards passage had a goal to raise teacher pay, this millage was there answer to their protest.
The millage was sold as a pay increase to be able to get and keep our qualified teachers. This is the main reason so many are so very outraged, the district board and union did what they wanted with it. It was on all the material, all the meetings, workshops and TV interviews. It was very clear it was for teachers to get a better pay for 4 years. That has never been an issue. We were all aware.
Did you Vote for Non-Qualified Teachers to receive “Financial STIPENDS” from your tax dollars?
During a televised workshop, before the millage passed, Tina McSoley, then a sitting board member, giggled while she introduced putting 1 million under academic initiative for non-instructional personnel. She introduced it and li Roberts and another board member approved it. The non-instructional personnel, or AFSME was not even present during the meeting, Tina filed it as a board member and introduced it.
That’s the board. And we as citizens could only sit in the audience and listen as they decided and dictated.
No union, just them, The Board and the District.
All of the non-teaching personnel play an extraordinary behind the scenes role in our children’s educational system. That being what it is, they were not included in the Voter Ballot Initiative language. We were not asked if we wanted the money to be spent on these other areas of budget. No, we were told all the 11.2 million would reach the teachers Development & Retention as well as the other (4) Four categories specified on the ballot.
Well, as it turns out there is an effort to rewrite the intent after the fact. History on the other hand will prove to be the final arbiter on this one. Claims by the School Board General Council that there were not enough words allowed to include the other positions is laughable. He infers that through definition of regulation and quasi statutory definitions that a “Qualified Teacher” can be a Dean, Media Specialist, program specialist, speech pathologist or some other non-teaching role. The language stated QUALIFIED TEACHERS. It did not state Qualified Teachers and others.
The award of $1,000,000.00 to non-qualified teaching personnel diluted the amount intended to reach the Teacher by One Million Dollars. Not only that, it violated an ethicacy of responsibility, accountability and confidence of the people’s trust. This is not what we voted for.
While this may seem like a semantic argument and it is. That still does not preclude the fact that the semantic if allowed violates Principles and Tenent of our electoral system. It also erodes trust from the process of Governance in the Sunshine.
This is why “We the People” have to remain vigilant in our effort to ensure the integrity of our governance.
If you want the right thing to be done with your money please e-mail the entire School Board below with a single click below and tell them – you are watching and that they need to honor their request of us, just like we are honoring ours by having the tax removed from our pockets.
There is no right way to do the wrong thing.