As of Thursday...Nearly Official...


Letter-to-editor from Dan Boyd

PDF Version: Here

November 5, 2008

Voice of the People
Gainesville Sun

Editor: Thank you, Alachua County!

Despite a tough economic climate, you have voted to make an investment in our public schools by voting 'yes' for the one mill for schools. That investment will have a positive impact on the education and well-being of our students long after the one mill sunsets in 2013.

Thanks to you, every public school student in this district will have access to a school nurse for the next four years. They'll find more up-to-date technology in their classrooms. Highly successful magnet programs open to students throughout the county will get back funds that they've lost.

Thanks to you, elementary students will have art and music classes throughout the year, classes which we know boost academic achievement, attendance and good behavior. They will also continue to have access to guidance counselors.

Thanks to you, our middle school band programs will receive more funding. And thanks to you, our middle and high school students will have greater access to media specialists, who are an essential part of any high-quality school.

In keeping with the ballot language and the commitment made to voters, an independent citizens' oversight committee will ensure that the money raised through the one mill is spent just as you intended.

I want to express my deepest appreciation to those citizens who supported the one mill initiative by contributing funds, waving signs at voting sites, passing out fliers at public events and encouraging their family, friends and neighbors to vote 'yes.' Most of all, I want to thank the members of the Citizens for Strong Schools advocacy committee, who were led by local businessman, parent and Alachua County Public Schools graduate Mark McGriff. The overwhelming success of the initiative is a tribute to their hard work, talent and commitment to the students and schools of Alachua County. I'm very grateful to them and to the entire community.

Dan Boyd, Superintendent
Alachua County Public Schools
620 East University Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601

Letter-to-editor from Mark McGriff

PDF Version: Here

November 5, 2008

Gainesville Sun
Voice of the People

You did it, Alachua County!

By a wide margin, you voted to make students and schools a top priority here in Alachua County. By supporting the one mill initiative, even in these tough economic times, you've sent those students the very important message that their education matters. Who knows what kind of long term impact that message will have on the children in our community?

I've talked to hundreds of people in the past few months about the one mill and Florida's school funding situation. The vast majority of them understand that good schools are the foundation of any successful community. They know that good schools benefit all of us, not just families with school-aged children. They recognize that Alachua County's A-rated school system is facing one of the most significant crises in its history. And most importantly, they were willing to act.

Citizens for Strong Schools is the advocacy committee that was formed to educate the public about the one mill. The group is made up of volunteers from throughout the county-parents and non-parents, working folks and retirees, young and old, black and white. All of us had many other demands on our time. But we believed that the one mill initiative needed and deserved our best efforts.

Fortunately we picked up the support of many other citizens along the way who were concerned about the impact of state budget cuts on our schools and were willing to help. They contributed to the advocacy campaign, put up signs in their yards, and talked to their friends and neighbors about the one mill. And the community responded in a very big way, voting nearly two-to-one in favor of the initiative.

On behalf of Citizens for Strong Schools and our many volunteers, I want to thank the citizens of Alachua County for their overwhelming support of schools. I also want to thank my fellow committee members for all their hard work. It was a privilege to be a part of this effort, and it's a privilege to be a part of a community that values children and education.

Mark McGriff
Citizens for Strong Schools
1120 NW 13th Street
Gainesville, FL 32601