Marion County Public Schools, Florida

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Transparency grading process
Marion County School District is a school district in Florida (Sunshine Review). The school system has a total attendance of 42,108 students project for the 2009-2010 school year. The Florida Department of Education provides a list of past, current, and future school enrollment totals for each district.

Website evaluation

In 2011 Marion County Public Schools earned a Sunny Award for having a perfect website transparency score.

Main article: Evaluation of Florida school district websites

Last rated March 5th, 2013.

The good

  • School board members are listed with contact information.[1]
  • Administrative officials listed with contact information under respective department.[2] [3]
  • Meeting minutes[4] and agendas are available [5] ; both are archived for five years.
  • Academic guidance and performance reports are provided.[6]
  • Budgets, including revenue information, and audit reports are published.[7] Budgets and audits are archived for twelve years [8]
  • Information on how to make public records requests is posted.[9] [10] There is a page dedicated to explaining Marion County PS's dedication to transparency; it specifically mentions its winning multiple Sunny Awards[11]
  • Union[12] and vendor contracts are posted and are easily accessible.[13] Pay scales are posted as well[14]
  • School board policy outlines background check and certification policy for employees.[15]

The bad

  • Millage information is provided, as are some revenues/expected revenues from taxes, but other tax rates and revenues are not provided (see pages 1-3, 17, and 19).[16]

School board

The school board controls school property, establishes, organizes, and operates the schools of the district, including: establishing schools, adopting enrollment plans, providing for school elimination and consolidation, cooperating with school boards of adjoining districts in maintaining schools, maintaining the school year schedule and other more specific duties as outlined in the Florida statute.[17]

It operates, controls and supervises the district's public schools as well as determines the rate of school district taxes, with the option of two or more school districts operating and financing educational programs together.


School Budget

Marion County school district currently retains $338,100,000 for its general operations budget, a total which is compiled from adding together other groupings of budgetary needs, which are:

  • Instruction: $161,905,000
  • Teacher Salaries: $103,242,000
  • Pupils: $18,536,000
  • Total Support Services: $109,437,000

Furthermore, there are currently 42,035 students enrolled in the school district.[18]

Academic performance

2007-2009

Below is a chart of the school's grade based on the student's performance of the statewide test called the FCAT.[19] To see results, click "show".

Unions

The Marion Education Association (MEA) is the teacher's union for this school district. It has over 1,700 members.[20]

Chris Altobello currently serves as President.[21]

MEA describes its function on its website, stating, "MEA works diligently to improve professional compensation and protecting our members' rights through expert collective bargaining, grievance processing and political action. At the same time, we are strong advocates for professionalism in education. Thus, we offer training, seminars and workshops, as well as up-to-the-minute information on the constantly changing demands and requirements of our profession."[22]

Lobbying

Main article: Florida government sector lobbying

Taxpayer-funded lobbying (Sunshine Review) is the practice of government entities using public funds to lobby. This occurs at all levels of government: it can be at the federal level or occur at local level with cities and counties, for example. These activities are hard to track because of the broad nature of lobbying, among other reasons. The issues lobbied for by governments can be diverse, but school lobbying typically deals with issues close to the school district or school board.

In July 2009, Sunshine Review submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the 27 Florida school districts with lobbyists registered for 2009 with the Florida legislature.[23] The results of the information requests are included in Florida school districts lobbying totals. (For information on the project or to start your own, see the project page.) The school district received the FOIA request on July 27, and sent a response letter postmarked August 11. The district asked for $242.64 for the request. [24]

Marion County Public Schools has four registered lobbyists with the Florida legislature and two lobbyists registered with the executive branch for 2009.[25] [26]

The school district pays membership dues to the Florida School Boards Association, a government sector lobbying association.[27]

Representation

Marion County Public Schools has been represented by the lobbying firm Mixon & Associates since at least 2006.

For the 2006-2007 period, the school district had a contract with the firm for $20,000.[28]

Payments to Mixon & Associates, 2006-2007
Date Payment
03-2006 $1,666.66
04-2006 $1,666.66
05-2006 $1,666.66
06-2006 $1,666.66
07-2006 $1,666.66
08-2006 $1,666.66
09-2006 $1,666.66
10-2006 $1,666.66
11-2006 $1,666.66
12-2006 $1,666.66
01-2007 $1,666.66
02-2007 $1,666.66

Payments made to Mixon & Associates for the contract terms total $19,999.92 for this period.[28]

The contract with the firm for 2007-2008 was for $20,000. [29]

Between March 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009, Marion County schools had a contract with Mixon & Associates for $20,000.[30]

For 2009-2010, the district has an agreement with the firm for $20,000. [31]

Contracts with Mixon & Associates, 2006-present
Contract start Contract end Amount
Mar-2006 Feb-2007 $20,000
Mar-2007 Feb-2008 $20,000
Mar-2008 Feb-2009 $20,000
Mar-2009 Feb-2010 $20,000

Most recent

Marion County Public Schools has a contract with its lobbying firm for $20,000 for 2009-2010.

See also

External links

References