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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade school system is asking voters to approve a property tax hike that would give teachers a pay increase.
Miami-Dade teachers are among the lowest paid in the state, and the country.
Many can’t even afford to live in the county anymore.
Referendum 362 asks to raise property taxes by 75 cents per $1,000 in taxable value, which would generate about $232 million a year for pay raises and security. For the typical homeowner, it amounts to about $12 a month.
It would catapult our teachers from below national average teachers’ salary to above national average teachers’ salary,” said Miami Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto.
Carvalho says the school district plans to direct between 80 to 90-percent of the money to subsidize the salary increases and the rest would fund school safety measures, supplementing money already allocated by the state following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland.
“Right now the average teacher salary in Miami-Dade is about $50,000 a year; teachers begin at $41,000,” Carvalho said. “Much like across the nation, about eight percent of teachers nationally leave the profession annually because they cannot afford to do what they love to do.”
If voters approve the November referendum, the vast majority of the county’s 19,000 teachers would see a bump in their salary. Other school employees, including counselors, social workers and teacher’s aides, would also get a raise.
The ballot item says that the money would be collected annually for four years then the district would ask voters to approve the increase again after it expires in 2023.
Broward County voters approved a similar measure for that district in August, and Palm Beach County has a referendum on the November ballot.
Carvalho doesn’t want to lose teachers to other counties due to higher wages. He wants to keep Miami-Dade teachers’ salaries competitive with Broward County, which is where many teachers who work in Miami-Dade actually live.
Carvalho sat down with CBS4’s Jim DeFede to discuss what is being asked of Miami-Dade voters.
That discussion can be seen at the top of this page.