Ref – FAQs
What will it cost me?
The referendum is for one mill. This is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value for your home. In Florida your assessed value on a homesteaded property can be much less than the market value due to Save Our Homes legislation. Save Our Homes limits the increase in assessed value to 3% per year or the change in Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.
The median assessed value for homesteaded properties for the 2017 tax roll was $113,495.
-$25,000 Homestead exemption
$88,495 / $1,000 = $89 additional tax if referendum passes, $7.42 per month.
Why don’t you do a sales tax, make everyone pay, not just home owners?
Florida State Statutes only allow us to use property tax for operating expenses such as teacher salaries. Sales tax can only be used for capital expenses like new schools. This school tax is to help us offer the same programs that surrounding counties have for their students and to pay competitive wages to teachers and staff.
Is it really needed?
Yes. The School Board would not have voted unanimously to put this on the ballot if they did not believe that it was truly needed. We are a good school district with dedicated teachers and staff who do the best they can with limited resources. If we want to become the GREAT DISTRICT that our community deserves, we need to pay teachers a competitive wage and increase instructional time to compete with surrounding counties.
I have no kids in school, how will this benefit me?
- The quality of a community’s school system has a direct impact on a resident’s quality of life. If families and businesses do not have confidence in our school system, they will not move to Charlotte County. In order for our community to sustain itself, we need a diverse economy. We need businesses to share the tax burden and we need working families to provide the things we need – quality healthcare, restaurants, law enforcement, and skilled labor.
- Higher quality school systems benefit everyone by raising your property value. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, there is a definite correlation between school expenditures and home values in a given neighborhood. For every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20.
- Higher education attainment in a community results in lower crime. A Brookings Institution Report found that “dropouts are incarcerated at rates twice those of high school graduates, leading to much greater public spending on policing, the court system, and the prison system.“*
Who is paying for the costs of the referendum?
There will be no cost to the taxpayers to put the referendum on the November 2018 ballot. A PC (political committee) has been formed by a group of citizens to pay for any efforts to promote the referendum.
Why are you not having a special election for the referendum?
The estimated cost to mail ballots for a special election for the referendum is $300,000. The School Board feels this would be fiscally irresponsible. Putting it on the November ballot will result in more citizens having the opportunity to vote on this important issue.
How long will this tax last?
The tax will last for four years and will be voted on again in November 2022.
Do you anticipate asking for it to be renewed?
Yes. In order to maintain the level of program services and competitive wages for teachers desired by the community, we will need the referendum to be renewed.
How do CCPS salaries compare with Sarasota, Lee and Desoto? Not just teachers, all employee salaries.
All salaries and wages listed below are starting.
COUNTY TEACHER BUS DRIVER FOOD SERVICE
Sarasota $42,000 $13.17 $9.28
Lee $40,000 $10.51 $10.65
Desoto $38,500 $16.35 $9.90
Charlotte $38,233 $12.35 $9.00
What will the impact be if it passes the first time and not the second?
Programs funded by the referendum will be discontinued. Any wages in the form of a referendum bonus will stop.
What will happen if it doesn’t pass?
We will keep doing what we always have. We will use taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and effective manner possible to provide the best education we can for the children of Charlotte County. Our salaries will not be competitive with neighboring counties and we will not be able to offer additional programs and instruction to improve student learning and achievement.
Are you losing employees to surrounding counties?
Yes. Of the 59 teachers who told us why they left, 20 went to Sarasota.
How many districts in the state have passed a referendum for operations?
17 districts (approximately 1 out of 4) have passed a referendum for operations.
How will more money help?
We have a good school system that has been making steady improvement over the last three years. If we are going to have the best school system, we need to compete with surrounding counties to recruit and retain the best teachers and provide the same services. Presently, we pay our teachers significantly less than Lee and Sarasota Counties and about equal with Desoto County. Since the end of last school year (June 2017), we have already lost 59 teachers. This does not include teachers who have retired or paraprofessionals.
The most important determinant of student achievement, after the home environment, is the teacher in the classroom. If you want the best teachers, you need to pay a wage that lets them know that they are valued. The majority of money raised from the referendum will be used to provide competitive wages. The second priority is to add instructional time. Sarasota County is one of two A rated districts that has had additional instructional time for more than 10 ears.
How will you show outcomes?
A financial oversight committee will monitor how the referendum dollars are spent. They will ensure that the money is spent according to the priorities listed above and they will report at least annually to the Board. We will show outcomes each year in our strategic plan which lists in detail student achievement measures, including graduation rates and performance in both English Language Arts and Math. In addition, the Superintendent presents a State of the District at least annually.
*Clive R. Belfield, and Henry Levin,”The Price We Pay. Economic and Social Consequences of Inadequate Education,” 2007
*Barrow, Lisa and Cecilia Elena Rouse. “Using Market Valuation To Assess Public School Spending,” Journal of Public Economics, 2004, v88 (9-10,Aug),