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Taxpayer dollars should not be used subsidize city charter schools

By Staff | Jul 29, 2021

To the editor:

After reading a recent article in another paper about the city of Cape Coral attempting to acquire sales tax dollars for their city charter schools, I need to say the following.

When we, the citizens of Lee County, voted for the additional half cent sales tax, we did so to benefit the public school District of Lee County, not to benefit the City of Cape Coral Charter School, or any other charter school in Lee County.

The citizens of Cape Coral were sold the city charter school on the promise that no city tax dollars or city services would be used to support the city charter school system. That promise, though never put in writing, has been broken.

The City of Cape Coral Charter School is not an essential service to the citizens as are, for example, fire, police, water sewer, and so many others required services to run the city. The city should stay out of the financial woes of the charter school system and focus on spending our tax dollars on other needed city services and infrastructure.

The city already has a world class school system in the Lee County School District. The District is more than capable of providing a quality education for the children of Cape Coral. The District would probably easily absorb the small percentage of city charter school students into its system as well. According to the article “In Cape Coral the city charter schools serve less than 15% of the schoolchildren living in the city, and less than 4% of Cape students attending either city or Lee County public schools.”

I have not looked up this year’s PECO (Public Education Capital Outlay)and it changes from year to year, however, two years ago; charter schools received more money than public schools. Charters received 50% of the funds divided by 650 schools, and Public Schools received 50% divided by 3,500 schools. Is that a fair distribution?

The citizens of Cape Coral already contribute to the city charter school through public tax dollars from the state, and since it is a charter school, it does not have to adhere to the same rules as a public school system. It’s my opinion, the city of Cape Coral’s attempt to harvest sales tax dollars voted for by Lee County citizens for public schools, is a back door attempt to take more Lee County citizen tax dollars for the city charter school system. If the city charter school system can’t survive on what it has, perhaps it should close.

Robert Day

Cape Coral