Proposed tax increase to benefit Duval County teachers and schools highlights Tuesday’s discussion
JACKSONVILLE, Florida. — Educators and other community leaders gathered Tuesday night for a discussion of the proposed tax increase for Duval County schools.
Early voting began this week in Jacksonville. Duval County Public Schools wants residents to vote on a measure to increase the mileage rate.
Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene shared the facts presented by the Duval County School Board.
“It’s vitally important that you know the facts so you can share with other people about this referendum,” she said.
Community leaders from 904ward, the League of Women Voters and Duval Teachers United all participated in an online forum.
Greene says she can encourage people to vote, but can’t tell people How? ‘Or’ What vote.
“We are not the only district experiencing this teacher shortage. It’s a national teacher shortage,” Greene said. “And many districts have embarked on mileage referendums to ensure they can compete not only with their neighboring districts but also with the corporate world.”
The proposed $1 million increase in property taxes would generate nearly $82 million.
Greene says 75% of that would go to staff and teacher salary increases.
The rest would be split between charter schools and district arts and athletics.
EXPLANATION : Where will my extra tax money go if Duval approves the referendum for teachers?
The pushback comes from at least one Jacksonville lawmaker. Councilman Rory Diamond calls it a crazy idea.
“This is an absolutely crazy time to raise taxes on Jacksonville homeowners,” he said. “Inflation is outrageous and we just doubled the gas tax. And the school board, frankly, doesn’t need the money right now. Now is not the time to raise taxes on our families.
Diamond is a Republican who represents the beaches. We asked him about the need to increase the mileage and increase teachers’ salaries.
“Absolutely disagree with their logic as to why they are trying to raise our taxes,” Diamond said. “Experienced teachers don’t ask for more money in our charter schools or our private schools. They are paid less than public school teachers in Duval County, but they are happy there. So the problem is not the salary, it’s the management. They need to fix their management problem, not ask our landlords and our families for more money.
While Diamond officially opposes the tax increase, other groups are calling for a “yes” vote in the voting booth.
Greene made a comparison on teacher salaries. She says a teacher with 17 days of experience earns the state’s new starting salary, which is $47,500.
Greene says a teacher with 17 years of experience only makes a thousand dollars more.
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