NAN forum targets $1.2B bond issue

caines | 9/27/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Staff Report Miami-Dade County Public Schools [M-DCPS] Superintendent has been moving throughout the County, hoping to garner support for a $1.2B bond referendum that voters will consider on November 6th during the General Election. Last week, he took his campaign to New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International in Miami for a three-hour question-and-answer session with dozens of community activists, elected local officials, public school alumni and parents. The forum was held under the auspices of the monthly meeting of the National Action Network [NAN]. Questions from the audience focused on on two major issues: how inner-city, predominantly Black public schools and minority businesses would benefit from the bond. Carvalho has acknowledged on several occasions that Blacks in Miami-Dade County have faced a repeated history of economic injustice and vowed to make sure that this time Blacks would get a more equal share of the estimated 18,400 jobs as a result of the passage of the bond. He also promised that some 70 schools located in M-DCs urban core would see improvements within the first three years of the bond.

Laundry list of questions

But there were other concerns that were raised during the forum. Members of the community asked Carvalho: is there anything written that would guarantee Blacks jobs; how did the district come up with a $1.2B figure since projects posted online have no cost estimates; how will job training be incorporated; and will traditionally-Black schools get needed upgrades and improvements at the beginning of the rebuilding process? Carvalho says he will continue his forum at other venues including open houses and homeowners associations. The taxpayer dollars that would come from the approved bond would bring much needed money to repair or replace decades-old buildings and would bring outdated educational technology up to par. Bishop Victor T. Curry, pastor of New Birth and the recently-appointed president for the Miami-Dade Chapter of the National Action Network [NAN], also facilitated discussion on how to counteract Republican-led acts of voter suppression. Some community members were not in support of having Carvalho at the NAN meeting but Curry said it was necessary for Blacks to be informed.