The Nov. 4 ballot will feature two countywide questions before voters for approval. One asks voters whether or not to reauthorize the Children’s Services Council, while the other would continue the Palm Beach County School District’s .25-mill levy to fund fine arts and other special programs for another four years.
Question 1: Children’s Services Council Reauthorization — A new state law requires that voters be asked to reauthorize the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, a small but crucial agency that provides programs aimed at helping children and families in need.
Since 1986, the Children’s Services Council has provided these early intervention services for thousands of children each year. In 2013, more than 77,000 families were served through maternal/child health programs, educational programs, family support programs, afterschool programs and more. Most of this is done by funding outside agencies.
Without reauthorization, thousands of children will fall through the cracks and go without the services they need. Learn more at www.cscpbc.org/reauthorization.
Question 2: Referendum to Continue Special School Levy — The second question asks voters to let the Palm Beach County School District continue its existing .25-mill tax levy providing district-run schools with funding for fine arts teachers and a number of special academic programs. If approved, the levy will continue for another four years, facing the voters once again for reauthorization in 2018.
The money raised through this program — approximately $36 million a year — funds more than 500 teachers in district-operated schools, including music, art and physical education teachers in elementary schools, along with a number of special magnet/choice programs district wide. If the referendum fails, many of these programs, which the state considers outside core curriculum, will likely cease to exist. At the very least, the school district will need to make draconian cuts elsewhere to keep the programs.
This tax amounts to $25 a year for a home assessed at $100,000 after exemptions. That’s a small price to pay to make sure our children receive a well-rounded, quality education. To learn more about the school district’s .25-mill referendum, visit www.palmbeachschools.org/referendum2014.
It is crucial that these two referendums pass, and the Town-Crier strongly endorses a YES vote on both countywide ballot questions.