Decision to give $5M to Brevard school district delayed

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Canaveral Port Authority decided to delay a decision to donate millions of dollars to the Brevard County School District Wednesday.

Commissioner Bruce Deardoff proposed that the port's board donate $5 million to the school district over the next two years.

The donation would help save three schools that are set to close at the end of the year.

The Brevard school board has a big budget gap to fill, and board members said closing Clearlake Middle School, South Lake Elementary and Gardendale Elementary School could help.

"It’s the right thing for us to do. The port's mission statement is to provide a public benefit to the residents of the port district," said Deardoff.

Fellow commissioners raised the question of whether a $5 million gift to the schools was allowed by the port's charter. There was also discussion of a special workshop, which is now planned in the next two to three weeks to get an independent legal opinion to determine if a gift would impact the port's bond rating and update the financials on pending construction projects.

There were also differing opinions as to whether the port should provide the funds to assist the school district.

“I’m concerned about my children. I'm concerned about other children in the district. If a financial decision, I can understand the port authority commissioner's belief in wanting to get more information,” said a parent.

The port authority board plans to reach out to school board members to see if they will participate in the upcoming workshop.