Duval County teachers finally see benefit of property tax increase approved by voters last year

An empty Duval County Public Schools elementary classroom (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools teachers are now receiving supplemental pay to boost their salaries, funded by a one-mill property tax increase that voters approved in 2022.

The supplemental pay varies based on a teacher’s base salary with teachers who have higher salaries receiving more money. The supplemental pay, which is divided among the teachers’ regular paychecks, ranges from $5,400 to $7,000 and does not change the teachers’ base pay.

The supplemental pay increases are helping to address the state’s ongoing teacher shortage, which is among the worst in the country, according to the Florida Education Association.

There are roughly 8,000 teachers and 6,000 support staff vacancies across the state. One of the factors apparently causing the shortage is low wages.

The National Education Association ranks Florida 48th in the nation in average teacher pay at just over $50,000 a year.

DCPS expects to collect nearly $89 million from the property tax increase. Here’s the breakdown of how that money is being spent:

  • $58 million will fund teacher pay
  • $20 million will be used for supplemental pay for paraprofessionals and support staff
  • $11 million will be used to enhance funding for arts and athletics

The half-cent sales tax approved in 2020 is another taxpayer-funded project that benefited Duval County Public Schools. It provided more than $1 billion to fund maintenance projects that were delayed because of state funding cuts.

The money was used to build the brand-new Rutledge Pearson Elementary School, the newest public school in Northwest Jacksonville in 15 years.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.