Officials ask Miami-Dade voters to back tax hike for teacher, school police salaries

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade school board members are asking voters to back a November ballot measure that would raise their taxes in order to pay for salary increases for teachers and school police officers.

It’s called “Secure Our Future.”

The tax hike would be about $10 to $20 per year for Miami-Dade property owners.

District officials say it’s critical to keep that extra funding for teachers and law enforcement officers on campus—and they kicked off an entire campaign Thursday to make it happen.

“We want to make sure that we’re able to maintain our ability to recruit and retain our teachers and our police officers,” Superintendent Jose Dotres said during an event at the Madie Ives K-8 Center in northeast Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade voters said yes to the measure four years ago but that funding is about to sunset.

“A law enforcement officer at each and every school—promise made, promise kept,” school board Chair Steve Gallon said.

The district says when the funding ends next year there won’t be enough money to stay competitive, especially with Broward County, where voters just OK’ed that school funding.

Like in 2018, the Miami-Dade school district has some community heavy hitters funding the campaign. It tops $100,000 and most, so far, have been spent on branding and advertising.

“This is an investment, I repeat, in people,” school board member Lucia Baez Geller said. “Not things. Not computers. Not items. We’re investing in people.”

“Continue improving compensation” is the ballot headline.

The difference from last election, though, is that privately operated charter schools are included this time. A charter school CEO is among the contributors.

In 2018, the teachers union fought that, though it’s now on board.

The district wants everyone to think it’s a no-brainer to vote yes—and they have a campaign hoping to sell that.

Dotres said if the measure doesn’t pass, there will be consequences.

He said there will be programs likely cut, salaries rolled back and, most of all, he said it would make the district not competitive, especially during a time of teacher shortages.

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