Duval teachers may not see benefits from tax referendum until next school year, property appraiser says

Language in Duval County millage rate increase measure creates confusion

While Tuesday night represented a big win for supporters of Duval County’s property tax referendum to fund pay raises for teachers, it could be longer than expected before that revenue lands in teachers’ paychecks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While Tuesday night represented a big win for supporters of Duval County’s property tax referendum to fund pay raises for teachers, it could be longer than expected before that revenue lands in teachers’ paychecks.

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland told News4JAX on Wednesday that he’s been working to clarify with Duval County Public Schools leadership how the one-mill increase will be levied given that millage rate adjustments occur on Jan. 1, but the school district’s voter-approved increase is supposed to begin at the start of the district’s fiscal year, July 1.

“The additional millage shall begin on July 1, 2023, and shall expire on June 30, 2027, as authorized by Section 1011.71(9), Florida Statutes, unless renewed by the electorate.”

Excert from School Board of Duval County Resolution 2022-2

READ: School Board of Duval County Resolution 2022-2

Duval County Public Schools Chief of Marketing and Communication Tracy Pierce said the district is still working on the implementation of the tax increase.

“As we have said prior to the election, our next step in the process is to begin negotiations with employee representative groups,” Pierce said in an emailed statement. “We are also in communication with Mr. Holland’s office regarding all next steps surrounding proper notification and collection of the new revenue.”

Holland added that it’s entirely possible that Duval County teachers may not see the benefits on their paycheck from the millage rate increase until next school year.

The passage of the referendum means the school district will now go back to the bargaining table with Duval Teachers United and adjust the salary schedules of its teachers to account for the new revenue that’s now going to be incoming.

A memo Wednesday afternoon from Duval Teachers United told its members that “how much revenue will be provided to education is contingent upon the amount of revenue collected by the one mill.”

PREVIOUS STORY: Duval County voters approve property tax increase to help teachers & schools

Taxpayers are now left wondering what’s next — and when the increased rate would be hitting their bills.

The bump in the millage rate for public schools by one mill shakes out to about an additional $275 a year for a property appraised at $300,000.

This month, property owners should be getting their annual notice from the appraiser’s office that shows how much their property is valued. Some may have already received their notice, but the approval of the referendum means those people will likely have to disregard the one they already got because a new one is coming. Property taxes are due by March 31.

On Sept. 6, the Duval County School Board is scheduled to approve the final budget for the academic year.

The tax will be in effect for four years — after which the board will have to decide whether to extend it past that point.

District leaders are still facing a major shortage of teachers and staff, and School Board Chairman Daryll Willie said there’s still work to do.

“I think it’s us really looking as a district and across the state about how do we raise the sort of the bar and make sure that we really push and thank and validate our teachers because at the end of the day, you have folks who may be leaving because we’re not validating the profession the way we need to. So I think we need to do more of that,” Willie said. “I think we’re doing a great job of that in our district. I’ve been in schools, and they’ve been really pumping up our teachers making sure they feel like they’re heard and valued and they’re the professionals that they are, and that’s what we need to continue to do.”

News4JAX also spoke with Sandalwood High School teacher Shannon Russell, who said there are several more procedural steps before educators will see the benefits.

“It’s been approved by the voters, it’s going to be on the agenda at the School Board meeting in September. And then once they go through that process there, you will then have to go to the state. And then the state has to go through its process of approving it or, or not approving it,” Russell said. “So it won’t be until my understanding and so sometime in the next year, but better a little, you know, later than never.”

Here’s a rough breakdown of how this money must be spent:

  • 65% of it will go to teachers’ pay
  • 12.5% will go to the arts and athletic programs
  • 12.5% will go to charter schools
  • 10% to school staff

About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.