FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Mail-in ballots are being sent out to St. Lucie County voters for the April 23 school referendum.
Residents are deciding on a property tax hike to pay for teacher salaries and school security measures.
If the referendum passes, the average homeowner with a $200,000 home would pay an extra $8.50 a month over four years.
St Lucie County schools superintendent Wayne Gent says it is a small investment to ensure kids are safe in school.
“If we’re successful with this referendum we’ll continue to have a school resource officer on every campus, and we’ll also be able to hire additional guidance counselors, school physiologists to deal with the mental health issue that our children bring to schools,” said Gent.
He also told WPTV that teachers are not getting paid enough for what they do every day. He said in order to have high performing students they need high performing teachers.
“Do better schools equal better communities or do better communities equal better schools? And the answer is yes and yes. So, we really need to have our students from the ground level up performing at high levels to be good functioning members of society that really beings the entire community up, the economics of the community and it attracts business and industry so it’s a win for everyone,” said Gent
One teacher said it's not just about a salary increase. "Referendum 4 is not just about teachers, it’s about our kids, it’s about our safety and just hoping everyone is voting right," said Christopher Calvo who teaches 4th grade at West Gate K-8 school.
All ballots for the referendum must be received no later than 7 p.m. on April 23.
In order to ensure that your ballot will be counted, voters should mail their ballot no later than four days prior to the election or hand deliver it to one of the four supervisor of elections office locations:
* 250 NW Country Club Dr., Port St. Lucie
* 1664 SE Walton Rd., Port St. Lucie
* 4132 Okeechobee Rd, Fort Pierce
* New Tax Collector Building in Tradition 10264 SW Village Parkway Dr., Port St. Lucie
For information, call the office at 772-462-1500 or visit www.slcelections.com or visit any of their four office locations listed above.