Florida Districts Looking for Additional Tax Money to Help Address the Teacher Shortage

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An attempt to enact a local-option property tax in 2022 to fund teacher compensation was failed, according to Hillsborough County’s then-superintendent Addison Davis. Van Ayres, the current superintendent, has proposed to the school board that they try again in 2024.

The teacher shortage that Hillsborough County schools are currently facing persists. 10,000 pupils didn’t have a permanent teacher from the beginning of the school year, according to one count. But would that be sufficient to persuade voters to back a property tax referendum that would improve teacher compensation? Similar tax issues have been passed by Hillsborough’s neighbors, some of whom are requesting renewals this year, and they have had better success with faculty hiring and retention.

Just a small majority of the Hillsborough School Board members are in favor of placing the question on the ballot in November as of yet. In April, the discussion continues.

“Every student deserves a high-quality, full-time teacher every day. But on the first day of school, 10,000 Hillsborough students did not have a permanent teacher.”

One in ten college students majored in education in 1990. In 2021, that decreased to 1 in 25, as stated by Hillsborough officials. In the meantime, the district is losing an increasing number of teachers who are not retiring.

In order to save kids from schools with insufficient instructors, Superintendent Van Ayres and a small majority of the board are hoping to persuade voters in November to pay $1 per day, or the estimated cost for the owner of a $350,000 property.
They claim to have learnt from August 2022, when a comparable campaign run by the previous government was defeated by 591 votes. This year, with the election taking place in November, they may have more time to recruit kids and school volunteers.

They must first persuade their own school board, though. Just four participants gave enthusiastic testimonials during a workshop on February 27. The other three remained mute or ambiguous.
Additionally, they will need to win over the hearts and minds of their own employees. The majority of principals and teachers surveyed indicated that they take the staffing issue seriously. Teachers who wished to remain anonymous made multiple comments along these lines: “If we want more from schools, we need to chip in. We can’t keep expecting great results from such little input.
Others, however, tended to say something like this: “Why would I want to pay more in taxes in order to receive a raise? I would have to say “no” to it.

Having the support of the county officials would also be beneficial. However, with the County Commission considering the extension of its community investment tax, that’s not totally obvious at this point.A few members of the commission have expressed concerns regarding the potential inclusion of schools in the upcoming tax version, as well as the amount that would apply.

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