FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Broward County public school district is concerned it could lose millions of dollars that goes toward securing schools and giving teachers bonuses, so members are urging voters to approve a new referendum.
That’s because millions of dollars’ worth of funding from a 2018 referendum are about to expire.
It’s money that funds about 500 school security personnel, over a 100 mental health staff and more than $80 million dollars annually in teacher supplements.
“That is how we’re funding for school safety at the elementary school levels with our guardians,” said Broward Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright. “It also helps fund for many of our campus monitors throughout our entire district.”
In the upcoming august primary election, voters will have to approve an increase in the millage rate from 0.5 to a full mil.
That means the average homeowner would pay an extra $23 in property taxes per month.
For the average condo owner, it’s about $13 dollars extra per month.
“If the referendum doesn’t pass, we would have zero, which means our teachers would not receiving any of the supplements that they receive now,” said Broward School Board Member Laurie Rich Levinson.
If it passes, it will generate about $177 million dollars a year for Broward County Public Schools.
A total of 75 percent would go to teacher compensation, 17 percent would be for school safety, and 8 percent for mental health programs.
“I think it’s important for the community to understand that the school board’s only option to raise additional revenue outside of the legislative process is the referendum,” said Broward Schools Spokesperson John Sullivan.
The school district says it is underfunded by Tallahassee and they say want to remain competitive in order to hire the best teachers out there and keep up with school safety.
“The counties on both sides of us are actually recruiting some of our top talent here from Broward County Public Schools,” said Cartwright.