Miami Herald OP-ED: Give the ‘Next Gen’ better schools

The Miami Herald – Speak Out | September 21, 2012

I’m a parent. I have a bodacious 3-year-old daughter who is ready to take on the world. She’s opinionated, articulate and loves Dora the Explorer.

I’m a young professional and own my business. My wife and I have student loans, we’re paying prepaid college, we have childcare and pre-K expenses and a mortgage. We want to have another child.

I’m a conservative. I demand a limited local government that prioritizes spending to provide value to the taxpayer — an innovative government focused on contributing to the growth of the private sector through the privatization of government services instead of increasing its own ranks.

With that said, I wholeheartedly and passionately support Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvahlo’s campaign to renovate crumbling schools and will vote to support the bond referendum.

Our school district, the nation’s fourth-largest, is dead broke in terms of construction dollars despite having almost $2 billion in unmet needs and deferred maintenance across nearly 400 schools and facilities.

We’ve inherited a wasteland of technology-starved, deteriorating schools with leaky roofs, moldy air-conditioning and exposed bathroom pipes that ooze filth through walls onto the floor under the children’s feet. I would not want my daughter walking through that wearing her Dora backpack.

Over half of our schools were built before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. I say “our schools” because we own them. We are the next generation of trustees and investors in Miami-Dade. By supporting the bond we will stimulate our local economy by getting our friends back into the workforce.

Most important, this bond referendum clearly lets us know what we’re paying for — there’s no bait and switch. These funds will not go to the excesses of bureaucracy and personnel. Money will go to bricks, mortar and technology — real stuff.

The time has come for us to own tomorrow. Vote Yes on Nov. 6. We can be the voice supporting this investment in our schools for our children — the real Next Gen.

Luis Andre Gazitua, a lawyer, and Miami Lobbyist, specializing in government affairs, authored the strong-mayor charter amendment approved by the voters in January 2007.

Read more:  The Miami Herald

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Luis is an experienced procurement lawyer and Miami lobbyist serving elected officials, businesses, international clients, and trade associations. He regularly appears before local and state government in order to advance complex objectives for clients against competing interests. He has weathered various competitive processes in Florida including Home Rule Charter Amendments, Recalls, Local, State and Federal campaigns.