By Joan Murray

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Broward taxpayers will be asked to dig deeper this August and pass a referendum to help fund teachers supplemental pay, school security, and mental health initiatives.

The ‘Secure The Next Generation Referendum’ was first approved by Broward voters in 2018 and is about to expire.

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Voters will decide whether to renew the referendum during the August 23, 2022 primary.

The tax rate would double, which means if your home is valued at $400,000 you would pay $275 dollars in school property tax, which is about double what it is now

The funds from the 2018 referendum allowed the hiring of 500 school safety personnel, 100 mental health professionals, and $82 million in salary supplements for teachers and staff, according to the school district.

On Tuesday, the Broward School Board will vote on how to divide the funds should voters approve the referendum renewal.

Currently, the proposal is to split the money as follows:  75% for supplemental teacher and staff pay, 18% for public safety, and 7% for essential services like mental health initiatives.

“The initiative has done a lot of good,” said Broward Schools spokesman John Sullivan.

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“We don’t have the funds and the legislature isn’t providing the money,” he said noting the necessity of voters approving the renewal.

Veteran Broward teacher Jim Gard says overall teacher salaries have remained flat. He’s marking 41 years as a teacher and currently teaches math at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek.

“It’s nice being a math teacher because I can budget, but it should be more,” he said.

Broward teachers start at $47,500 a year.  Nationally, the average pay is about $65,000 a year.

Gard is hoping voters will support the referendum not just for teachers, but Broward communities as a whole.

“I was at Stoneman Douglas when the shooting happened. They now have 16 or 18 security guards. This thing fails, they are gone.”

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They’ll be gone because if the referendum fails, the District would have to cut or find other ways to fund the teachers supplemental pay, increased school security, and mental health counselors.