Palm Beach Co. schools want to continue to receive a portion of your property tax

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach County School District hopes voters will continue to fund district operations with a portion of their property taxes when they go to the polls.

Current referendum voters approved in 2018 will expire next year, and the district wants to continue it for another four years.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education

Stephanie Stinchcomb is passionate about teaching art at South Olive Elementary School in West Palm Beach.

“It’s not all perfect and great when they come home sometimes,” Stinchcomb said. “And they come here and they can just let it out. And they can be themselves no matter what.”

Stinchcomb said his job hinged on the upcoming referendum and voters choosing to continue funding school operations with $1 million on their property tax bill.

“I was placed in a freshman class when my position was cut 11, 10 years ago. And even though we weren’t cut and had to keep our positions, the supplies. Our budget didn’t was nothing before, and it went up because of the referendum,” Stinchcomb said.

“Florida is 44th in the nation in education funding,” Superintendent Mike Burke said. “So in Palm Beach County, we want to be able to provide more than basic services, and this referendum allows us to do that.”

Burke said this was not a tax increase, but a continuation of what homeowners are already paying.

If your house is worth $300,000 with the exemptions, it’s about $300 a year.

The referendum brings in about $250 million a year for things like safer schools, 750 teaching positions in arts, music, physical education and choice programs, as well as a mental health support on school campuses and salary increases for teachers.

“That’s, on average, out of all of our teacher salaries, about $8,000 a year that our teachers would lose,” Burke said. “And I would be very concerned if teachers would have a hard time staying in Palm Beach County without these supplements.”

Some of you have chimed in on the WPTV Facebook page with concerns such as “I understand the school district‘s budget this year is close to $5 billion, they don’t need another $250 million. .”

Another viewer posted, “What happened to the lottery money? Once you have no more kids in the school system, we shouldn’t have to pay school tax!”

RELATED: Understanding the Palm Beach and Treasure Coast County Referendum Questions on the November Ballot

“You really can’t cut the non-pay stuff,” Burke said. “And if we were to lose that kind of revenue, we would have to downsize.”

According to the Palm Beach County School District, the current referendum, which expires next year, provides these annual salary supplements for teachers, based on their years of experience:

  • $1,000: 1 to 4 years
  • $5,000: 5 to 9 years
  • $10,000: 10 years or more

Stinchcomb said the pay rise is a big plus, but she just wants to see the students continue to thrive.

“There is no wrong answer in art,” Stinchcomb said.

Palm Beach County voters aren’t the only ones seeing a question like this on the ballot. St. Lucie Public Schools is also calling for a referendum to keep a tax like this, and Martin County voters just approved it in the primary election.

For more information on the Palm Beach County School District Referendum, Click here. For more details on the St. Lucia Public Schools Referendum, Click here.

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