TCPalm: If Martin County voters reject school tax referendum, district is in trouble | Our view

Article Posted on August 8, 2018

By: Treasure Coast Newspapers

BALLOT QUESTION: Shall the Martin County School District increase ad valorem millage by one-half mill per year, beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2022, to fund essential operating expenses for: school safety and security for all schools, mental health programs, recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers, professional development for teachers and staff, and academic initiatives; with annual reporting to the county's citizens to ensure fiscal stewardship?

WHO CAN VOTE: All registered voters in Martin County


In theory, the Martin County School District ought to be awash in revenue. It collected more than $108 million of your tax dollars this year.

But because of Florida's convoluted school funding system, $45 million of that went to the state, which distributes it to poorer districts so all children might have the same chance at a quality education.

It's an equitable system in theory, yet makes for tight budgets here at home. So when needs arise — a raise for teachers, a new school — school officials have no choice but to beg taxpayers for a few extra dollars.

That will happen twice this year in Martin County. The first referendum, on the Aug. 28 primary ballot, seeks a one-half mill increase in ad valorem (property) taxes over 4 years. The revenue generated by this, an estimated $11.2 million each of the 4 years, would pay for teacher recruitment and retention, school safety measures, mental health programs and other initiatives.

We recommend a "yes" vote…

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