By: Ike Crumpler, Treasure Coast Newspapers
STUART — Curious what “categoricals” are and how these underfunded state mandates impact local K-12 public education?
Did you know that 40 percent of the funds Martin County property owners pay in real estate taxes for education is distributed to other school districts around the state?
What will happen to music, art, drama, band, chorus, high school athletics, science fairs, field trips, civic clubs, summer reading camps, the Environmental Studies Center and many more beloved—but not-required—school programs without enough school funding?
To better inform the public on how their tax dollars for education are being spent—and how the half-mill property tax increase voters will decide on Aug. 28 will impact school operations — Martin County School Board Chair Christia Li Roberts is hosting a series of town halls.
Roberts also created two easy-to-read, CliffsNotes-style booklets to help keep voters educated on school budgeting. Both are available for download at www.martinschools.org at the link MSCD Capital and Operate info in the Quick Links section as PDFs.
One booklet details the operating costs and challenges — ideal for voters seeking information for the Aug. 28 election. If passed, the half-mill property tax increase will support mental-health/wellness services, safety and security measures, professional development, academic programming, and for the recruitment and retention of teachers.
The other booklet addresses capital costs and obstacles, which should help voters going into the Nov. 6 election, where they will vote on a half-cent sales tax for deferred school maintenance/repair, safety modifications and the much-needed replacement of two elementary schools…