2020 » General Election » Ballot Issues » County » Pinellas County Referendum
Approval of the Continuation of One-half Mill Ad Valorem Tax for School District Operating Expenses
Shall the Pinellas County School District ad valorem millage of one-half mill per year be continued beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2025, for necessary operating expenses including funds to recruit and retain quality teachers; preserve reading programs and music and art classes; and provide current textbooks and technology, sharing funds with charter schools proportionate to student enrollment as required by law, with expenditure oversight by an independent citizens financial oversight committee?
This referendum is modeled on a referendum passed in 2004, which has been renewed by voters every four years since then. This year, by state mandate, the referendum includes the requirement that funds generated from the referendum also be distributed to charter schools. The estimated cost to the average Pinellas County homeowner with a homestead exemption if this referendum is passed, will be approximately $89 per year.
Under this referendum, the School District determines how funding is allocated, but an independent committee oversees and reports on the distribution of funds to ensure that expenditures fall within the categories specified in the referendum. This committee consists of one volunteer representative from each of seven non-profit and business organizations in Pinellas County (one of which is the League of Women Voters of North Pinellas County).
If approved, the estimated revenue generated through this referendum for fiscal year 2021-2022 is $47,712,445. According to the School District, 80% of this revenue will go toward teacher salaries and benefits, providing for a salary stipend of $5,231 for every teacher. However, even after the additional salary stipend, the salary level for Pinellas County teachers will still fall below levels in Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.
A "yes" vote would...
- Continue the current half-mill property tax associated with this referendum for next four years.
- Provide funding for a $5,231 salary stipend for all Pinellas County teachers.
- Help attract and retain teachers by bringing salary levels closer to neighboring counties.
- Provide supplemental funding for programs and resources in the arts, music and technology areas.
A "no" vote would...
- Reduce property taxes by .5 mill, resulting in approximately $89 savings per year for the average homesteaded homeowner in Pinellas County.
- Significantly reduce teacher salaries for the Pinellas County School District, making it more difficult to attract and retain quality teachers.
- Potentially lead to cutbacks or elimination of programs and resources in the arts, music and technology areas due to lack of funding.
- Pinellas County Schools
- Citizens for Pinellas Schools
- Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of St. Pete Inc.
- Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association
- Pinellas Realtor Organization
- St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce
- League of Women Voters of North Pinellas County,
- League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area
The League is not aware of any opponents at this time.