Miami-Dade teachers union sues mayor over funding

Students with disabilities aren’t getting the services they need, school libraries are understaffed and classrooms are overcrowded — and Miami-Dade’s teacher union says it’s the county mayor’s fault.

United Teachers of Dade announced Friday it is suing Mayor Carlos Gimenez for underfunding the Value Adjustment Board, which hears property tax appeals. As a result, appeals take years to be heard and collections that fund the school board fall short, the union says.

“This is a scandal that’s falling on the backs of fourth graders,” said Mark Richard, an attorney representing UTD.

The School Board has said it expects to lose $40million this year over the tax appeal issue, which is unique to South Florida. Miami-Dade has also missed out on money — $40million last year.

Mike Hernández, Gimenez’s communications director, said the county doesn’t deserve the blame. He said the clerk of courts and property appraiser request funding for the appeal board, and that the county hasn’t denied any funding requests in recent years.

“It’s unfortunate that a life-long educator like the president of the United Teachers of Dade doesn’t understand civics,” Hernández said.

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