Sarasota County Republican Party - Policy Committee Proposed Resolution Regarding School Board 2 To be voted on at January 2010 meeting

Comments and suggestions may be emailed to the policy committee chairman at RESOLUTION Proposed WHEREAS the Republican Party of Sarasota County believes the education of our children is of great importance as their education dictates the future of our country; and WHEREAS the Republican Party of Sarasota County believes government must practice fiscal responsibility that is more in tune with the current economic plight of its citizens; and WHEREAS the school board continues to build new schools rather than add on or remodel; and WHEREAS the voters are prevented from voting on bonds for capital expenditures such as capital construction costs; and WHEREAS the school board has worked out a scheme for bypassing the Florida Consitution Article VII Section 12 that requires bonds to be approved by a vote of the electors through a technicality. Specifically, the school board members created a non-profit Florida corporation in 1990 called " FINANCING CORPORATION FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD OF SARASOTA COUNTY, FLORIDA" in which the current directors are the 5 current school board members. This corporation signs a lease with the school board for a new school to be built and then in turn leases it back to the school system with a promise by the superintendent to include a line in the budget to pay the lease. The school board then sells "CERTIFICATES OF PARTICIPATION" (COPs) that are secured by the lease to the bond market. Because the School Board is securing the COP by a pledge of the power of ad valorem taxes and not a pledge of the ad valorem taxes themselves, they don't have to call a vote. The Florida Supreme Court narrowly ruled this legal when the school board was sued for violation of the Florida Constitution. Two Florida Supreme Court Judges dissented and stated the following. "Today the Court approves form over substance. The financial schemes employed in these cases are the equivalent to the issuance of bonds and pledging ad valorem taxes to support them. Thus, I totally disagree that the bonds in question can be approved without a referendum from the owners of freeholds as required by article VII, section 12 of the Florida Constitution. I believe it pure sophistry to say that "these obligations are not supported by the pledge of ad valorem taxation."; and NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Republican Party of Sarasota County 1. That we shall issue a press release condemning the practice of selling Certificates of Participation instead of allowing citizens to vote on a bond. 2. That we shall press our state legislature to pass new laws prohibiting schemes to avoid bond referendums through Certificates of Participation (COPs)

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