Teachers, school board hoping voters approve millage referendum in Martin County

Voters will head to the polls on Aug. 23
Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 18:18:54-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — When voters in Martin County head to the polls next month, they’ll be asked to approve the continuation of a property tax hike for county schools first passed in 2018.

Teachers are trying to make sure that if that vote passes, they won’t be shortchanged.

“We do our job because we love it, and because we care about kids,” said Martin County High School teacher Matt Theobald.

But love doesn’t pay the bills.

“Everybody’s feeling the squeeze, and we know homeowners are feeling it too,” said Theobold.

Theobald, who is also Vice President of the local teachers union, says there had been concerns that if the millage rate was extended, teachers would not get as big a piece of the pie as they had before.

Not so, says the school board chair.

“Actually at this point, they’ll be getting more,” said Christia Li Roberts.

She added that proposals from the district have teachers getting anywhere from $9.6 to $10.3 million if the existing millage passes again in August.

That’s a similar percentage to what teachers and staff got from the last property tax increase.

“We deeply value and appreciate our teachers. We understand they are the front line force for our students and we understand the importance to our community," said Li Roberts. "Any community is only as good as the schools you have in the community.”

Teachers engaged in another bargaining session with the district Wednesday afternoon, relieved that this hurdle may have been cleared.

“That millage money goes a long way to making sure that teachers can afford to take care of their families," said Theobald, "and it goes a very long way to making sure that good teachers stay in Martin County.”

Karen Resciniti, the President of the Martin County Education Association, told WPTV:

“We appreciate the generosity of the Martin County taxpayers over last four years with the millage referendum and we would appreciate their continued support to renew the referendum so we can remain competitive with other counties in the area.”

“If we don’t get the referendum reauthorized and it doesn’t pass, it will put us at a disadvantage as far as hiring goes,” said Li Roberts.

The Martin County School Board will vote next Tuesday on where that money will be allocated. That money ultimately comes down to the voters who make that decision on Aug. 23.