Parents upset over school board sending fliers for tax hike


SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Some parents in Seminole County say school leaders crossed the line by sending home some fliers with their children.

The fliers focus on next month's election and the ballot question asking voters to approve a tax hike to help fund the schools.

Channel 9's Drew Petrimoulx spoke to upset parents on Tuesday. They said the district shouldn't be spending money to get its political agenda approved.

Sharon Rousey is the mother of one special needs student who attends Lyman High School and another who recently graduated.

When the flier came home with her daughter, she said, "I was surprised that they had the gall."

With the headline "Telling It Like It Is" the front and back of the flier states the case for a property tax increase sought by the school board that goes before voters Nov. 6.

"Do not use school paper, resources, property on something that we're voting for," said Rousey.

If the referendum passes it would cost the average Seminole County homeowner $130 each year. But businesses, especially big ones, would be hit much harder. The tax bill at David Maus Toyota would go up $17,000 every year.

School board officials confirmed spending $2,300 to send fliers to all of the county's students.

In an email, School Board Chair Tina Calderone defended the move, saying, "It is the responsibility of the school board to share factual information so the public can cast an educated vote on the ballot."

The flier explains that the school district has lost 750 employees over the past four years and is facing cuts to music, arts and athletic programs without additional revenue.

If passed, its estimated that the tax increase would raise $100 million for the district over four years.