Pasco commission candidate holds superintendent's backing despite opposition to school impact fee hikes
In press releases and robocalls, Pasco County schools superintendent Kurt Browning has endorsed County Commission candidate Mike Moore, who is on the record as being opposed to tax and fee increases – including to the school impact fees which Browning and his administration have backed.
The district has seen its enrollment grow lately after a few static years, and officials have planned new schools to cope with the increase. Revenue from higher impact fees on new construction could help pay for the construction.
Browning's administration has been researching the possibilities, which would depend upon a commission vote. On Wednesday, Browning said he stands by his backing of Moore, one of three Republican candidates seeking to replace the retiring Pat Mulieri in Commission District 2.
Moore said at an early August candidate forum that he was "not for raising" school impact fees.
That did not dissuade the superintendent.
"The candidate assured him that he would be open to considering input on fee increases, but the district would have to make the case," school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said for Browning.
Reached while campaigning, Moore backed Browning's view.
"I'm not looking at lowering them or raising them," he said. "I'm willing to have an open dialogue with Superintendent Browning and the School Board and any other constituent on this issue."
Browning, who abstained from making political endorsements while overseeing elections, has occasionally waded into the area since becoming superintendent. This isn't the first one he's found himself defending.
In 2013, he backed state House candidate Bill Gunter, who had publicly renounced the Common Core State Standards that Browning fervently supported. Browning said Gunter assured him that he had never opposed the standards, and Gunter later modified his position.