JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County School District has nearly 400 classroom teacher vacancies heading into the first day of school.
In addition to that, educators are in tears over the struggle to pay their bills.
Duval County Public Schools shared a series of videos over summer break explaining the need for a property tax increase to boost teacher pay.
“There are so many times where I have to actually take my own money and purchase money my students may need,” one teacher said in the video.
While starting salaries are rising for new teachers -- veteran educators feel left behind. School leaders and the teachers union said more money is needed to help raise pay for those who have been in the system for years.
That’s the goal of a proposed property tax hike on the ballot next week. If voters approve the property tax hike teachers with experience could get a $5,000 bonus to keep them on the job.
Opponents argue families are already paying too much for everything - and can’t shoulder the extra cost.
With no immediate fix in sight, and hundreds of teacher vacancies, the district plans to fill the gaps by slightly increasing class sizes. Bringing in more substitutes and moving administrators into the classroom in a pinch.
Superintendent Doctor Diana Greene said with fewer teachers and staff it has to be on parents and family members to stay involved with their children’s progress.
The Florida Primary is Aug. 23 and the property tax referendum is on the ballot in Duval County. Early voting ends Sunday.
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