Newberry city staff reviews charter school budget 

Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe reviewed city staff proposed budget estimates on March 25 for the potential charter school conversion.
Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe reviewed city staff proposed budget estimates on March 25 for the potential charter school conversion.
Photo by Glory Reitz

Newberry city staff presented a review of a proposed budget on Monday from Education First for Newberry for the town’s schools if they convert to charters. 

The 501(c)(4) organization announced in February its intent to take a vote to convert Newberry High School, Oak View Middle School and Newberry Elementary School into charter schools. 

Last week, the group released a budget, estimating $20,048,736 of state revenue in its first year of operation, should the conversion votes succeed in all three schools. With the addition of transportation funds, the school lunch program, community services revenue and other federal and county revenue, it estimated total revenue of $23,463,111 in its first year, growing each year with increased enrollment in the following two years. 

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The budget estimates spending $17,125,710 on employee salaries, benefits and employer costs in the first year, $813,750 on transportation and $191,975 on facilities, among other expenses. The total projected expenditures come to $22,271,986 in the first year, leaving a $1,191,125 surplus. 

The Newberry City Commission had previously requested staff to make the review, and Mayor Jordan Marlowe has said he trusts staff’s opinions based on five consecutive years of recognition with the Government Finance Officer’s Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. 

Dallas Lee, the city’s chief financial officer, said staff looked into the budget proposal, impact fees and the management and operations of a charter school system. 

Lee told the commission that EFN’s budget, developed using a template from the Charter Support Unit, “appears to be materially sound.” The Charter Support Unit is a nonprofit that provides free support to charter schools in their first five years. 

Matched against the current Alachua County Public Schools budget and the budgets of other charter schools, Lee said EFN’s budget held up. He said though EFN primarily developed the budget, it did receive input from city staff. 

Lee said the budget has also been reviewed by the Charter Support Unit and the city of Cape Coral, which has a city charter school system. 

After consulting the city’s impact fee attorney, Lee said Newberry would not be able to use impact fees to help fund the schools, as state law only allows school boards and counties to levy school impact fees. 

Marlowe confirmed with Lee that the issue with city impact fees paying for schools would be the inequity of Newberry residents paying for benefits that would also be received by residents of Archer and unincorporated areas. 

“This is a unique proposal, so I’m not willing to say goodbye to the impact fees,” Marlowe said. 

The proposal also requests that the city employ additional staff to help support the charter school system, including a superintendent, accountant, facilities and maintenance staff, IT staff and others. 

Lee said the management and operations plan also appears materially sound. 

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If only the Failures that of the ACSB could do math? And of course focus on student education. How Woke , Broken, lawless and just downright prejudice can a school board be?


Juan is right, the reality of the ACSB for many years. Anything is better than them. Supported fully by the delusional Gainesville voters. The Newberry plan is a desperate attempt to avoid the disaster inflicted upon school children by the ACSB.

Real Gainesville Citizen and Voter

Well, I see the usual suspects have turned up with their usual incoherent comments. You’re both fired.
So we’re “delusional”? Seems to me that I read in Mainstreet Daily News just recently that, among “the disasters inflicted upon school children by the ACSB” was the fact that the National Merit Scholarship Program selected 34 Alachua County Public Schools students as National Merit finalists. Horrible. What a disaster.
Then, again, there was that investigative article in the Sun that demonstrating the Newberry attempt to capture its three schools was a campaign designed by a political operative.
Delusional, right?