By Bianca Vucetich, Senior
As student mentor for the eighth grade Journalism Class, I guide eighth graders to write about the highlights of each month. This month, many students were intrigued by the November 6th midterm elections. Their coverage ranges from the Senate and Governor races to specific amendments and referendums passed that will affect our local communities. Read to experience the perspectives of some iPrep middle school students:
Midterm Florida Election Recount
By Christel Aldana and Samantha Cawley
We believed that the Florida midterm election results would come out by the morning of November 7th, the day after the midterms. Yet, it came to our surprise when the elections were so close, less than 0.5% apart, that the judges needed to recount the votes manually.
According to the “Florida Election Results” in The New York Times, for the Florida governor election, Ron Desantis was in the lead with a total of 4,052,118 votes, while his main opponent Andrew Gillum was losing with 3,996,679 votes. The difference in the Florida governor race was an estimate of 55,000 votes. In the election for Florida’s senator, Republican candidate Rick Scott was in the lead. Scott had 4,073,835 votes, while Bill Nelson, Democratic incumbent, had a total of 4,039,298 votes for the first count. This resulted in the difference of votes being 35,000. The motive for the recount was due to a Florida election law stating that any race less than 0.5% apart will have to be recounted, not only that, but any race less than 0.25% will have to be recounted by hand.
Law 102.141 County Canvassing Board; Duties states the motives for recount and states when recounts will be mandatory, as stated in “The Florida Election Code” in dos.myflorida.com. Despite the fact that Andrew Gillum conceded, the recount was mandatory by Florida law.
Amendment 13 Passes To Stop Greyhound Racing
By Noah de la Portilla
About Greyhound Racing
Dog racing has been a pastime in Florida since 1931 and is extremely popular with gamblers. It is similar to gambling in casinos, but the people who bet and watch these dogs race don’t know the behind the scenes of the racing process. As Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi stated in the Orlando Sentinel, these dogs must be trained to race, but they are trained in an unorthodox way. They are abused if they don’t obey orders; they are constantly injured and drugged. People keep them in cages 23 hours a day, and sometimes they are even killed after races.
Floridians voted to ban dog racing throughout the state by amending the Florida Constitution earlier this month.
Hundreds of dogs will be left behind despite efforts by organizations that adopt greyhounds. Referring to the greyhounds left behind, Jim Gartland, executive director of the dog racing industry’s umbrella group National Greyhound Association, stated “We will do everything we can do to make sure that every one of them gets adopted.” According to NBC news, “Officials on both sides of the ballot measure on Wednesday promised they'll find these unemployed greyhounds new homes.” Government officials are also partaking in the search to find these dogs loving households. Hopefully, all of these dogs end up happy in their new homes, free of the cruelty of their previous owners.
Referendum #362: Increases in Property Tax to Raise Teachers' Salaries
By Judy Ladouceur and Silvano Ramirez, Eighth Graders
What is a referendum?
A referendum is a general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.
What is Referendum #362?
According to the article “Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Pitches Tax Increase: ‘There Are No Other Options’ ” on WLRN, the local station for National Public Radio (NPR), the proposed tax increase would not only increase teacher salary but also allow the district to employ more police officers. Mr. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools, stated that placing police officers on every campus is “a moral imperative whose time has come, and we cannot abdicate from it. We cannot allow Miami-Dade to become like many other districts in the country, struggling to hire teachers because they can't afford to live in those communities.”
Teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools have received the financial boost they were looking for from voters. As stated by the article “Voters prove they stand beside teachers” in The Miami Times, Referendum 362 needed 50% of voter approval in order to pass, and it was approved by 71% of Miami Dade County. Now that this Referendum was passed, for every $100,000 that property owners get paid, an extra $75 goes to teachers salary and school safety. In other words, school board members agreed that 88% of the funding would go to teachers and instructional staff. The remaining 12% would be forwarded to hiring more officers to be placed in each school.
According to the Miami Herald in their article, “Florida teacher pay ranks among lowest in the U.S. This is how Miami teachers get by,” about 2,600 (13%) of teachers received their maximum salary which stands at $72,720.