When Home Prices Fall, Broward Public Schools Suffer

Property values in Broward County have plunged to deeper depths, and the residual effects of lower tax income are already being felt by Broward government agencies, namely Broward public schools, which depend on property tax income to fund their services.

In an article entitled, " Broward School Board weighs possible layoffs, furloughs, fewer electives" (published 2/9/10), the Sun Sentinel reports that the Broward school district will face nearly $100 million cut in state money. This reduction in income for schools can be directly attributed to a marked drop in property values throughout the county.

According to a related Miami Herald article entitled "Broward property values take a nose dive," (published 2/8/10), property values have dropped about 16% countywide. As government agencies consider their budget planning strategies, they will be forced to reduce wages for their entire employment force, or layoff specific employees, in order to reach compliance. Usually, the first agencies to feel the effects of decreased tax revenue are Broward's already beaten and bruised public schools.

In light of these budget cuts, schools countywide will attempt the delicate balance between teacher needs and student services: In order for schools to comply with recently reduced student-teacher ratios, many teachers will be forced to take unpaid furloughs or face layoffs in nonessential subjects. It's either the teachers are let go, or options for students will be reduced (think schools that only offer specific electives, like arts or sports, but not both). To make the matter more complicated, the Broward Teacher's Union is currently in negotiations for a 4% pay raise. Clearly, the detrimental effects of plummeting home values are not limited to the pocketbooks of homeowners. To me, this is yet another example of the continuing spiraling down of our economy caused by the ongoing housing crisis.

If you would like more information about this topic, you can post a comment to this blog, contact me, Larry Tolchinsky, a Florida Real Estate Attorney, by email, or call me at (954) 458-8655, and I will be happy to answer your questions. I offer a free initial consultation.

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