South Florida School Districts Face Impact on Budgets

South Florida School Districts Face Impact on Budgets

Families picking up free meals at schools has become the new normal in South Florida. Now both the Broward and Miami-Dade school districts have moved to a twice-a-week schedule for food handouts. The superintendents in each county see an acute need to feed children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is no alternative, if we do not provide food to kids and families, kids will go hungry,” said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “We continue to see the meal count go up every week by 20 to 30,000” added the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, Robert Runcie. Each school district is getting help to defray the cost of the feedings, from the federal government and from the Miami Dolphins, the United Way, and other agencies. Nonetheless, the food program is still taking a chunk out of their budgets, but it’s pocket change compared to what’s looming down the road. “Based on what we’re seeing, we’re estimating, depending on what state and school district you might be in, that school systems can see revenue shortfalls in the range of 15 to 20 to 25% unless there’s federal intervention and funds to offset some of those losses,” Runcie said. In Florida, the picture is especially bleak because our state’s economy relies on sales taxes fueled by tourism. “With Port Miami shut down, with Disney World shut down, with all those restaurants and private sector entities not generating sales taxes, we’re gonna see a huge, huge hole in the state budget,” Carvalho explained. Carvalho said in the first two federal relief acts, known as CARES, Florida received about $943 million for education, which includes colleges and universities. The superintendents say that won’t be nearly enough to deal with the issues on their horizon. For example, taking steps […]

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