NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The Nassau County School Board on Thursday voted to move forward with plans to try to increase the county’s property taxes to help raise pay for teachers.
They’re hoping to add a resolution to the November ballot proposing a one-mill tax increase.
The resolution will now be handed over to the county commission. If they approve it, it could end up on the ballot where the ultimate decision will be up to the voters.
Amid a nationwide teacher shortage, the Nassau County School Board is taking action to try to keep their own and fill current vacancies.
The resolution states that right now, teacher salaries in the county rank 50 out of 67 districts in the state.
Educators voiced their concerns to the board Thursday.
“No one gets into teaching to get rich, but teachers need to be able to survive, and as a profession, we need to be able to be competitive if we want to attract the best,” said teacher Dr. Jim Glacklin.
Duval County just passed a similar resolution. The Jacksonville City Council voted to put it on the August ballot.
Glackin believes the need for these tax increases is the result of a lack of funding from the state.
“This sends a clear message to Tallahassee, it says we’re sick of you underfunding education so sick of it we’re taking matters into our own hands,” he said.
No one spoke out against the proposed tax increase at Thursday’s meeting.
But what happens if it doesn’t make it past the election?
The board said it does have a contingency plan just in case but chairwoman Donna Martin said it could mean cutting even more much-needed jobs.
“If 80 percent of our budget is personnel where do you think the cuts are gonna come from? Do the math. Do the math,” Martin said.
Martin said that could then have a major ripple effect.
“Do we want anybody in this county to lose their job? Of course not. Do we want our students to suffer? Do we want to go back to class sizes that are like 35? Of course not,” she added.
The board said it expects the county commission to talk about the proposed tax increase at a meeting at the end of the month.