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ELECTION ON EDUCATION

Courtesy of justgrimes under CC BY-SA 2.0

Courtesy of justgrimes under CC BY-SA 2.0

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The School District of Palm Beach County has added a referendum to the November ballot proposing a one mill levy—a new “tax rate” to be applied to the assessed value of citizens’ properties. The one mill levy, which is equal to $1 per $1,000 of assessed value, would fund a multitude of educational resources, increase school security measures, allow for hiring of new faculty, and improve teacher pay.

Ranked the top-performing urban school district in Florida and holding an “A” rating, the School District of Palm Beach County offers more than 300 choice and career programs. Approving the referendum may open new opportunities for the district to maintain and enhance those magnets.

“Dreyfoos would benefit in a number of different ways,” Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Schools Keith Oswald said. “[The referendum] would retain teachers who love to teach there and want to be there, but have a hard time affording to be living in Palm Beach County. We’re looking at providing additional mental behavioral health support. We’re probably looking at a second police officer addition.”

All levy expenditures from the referendum, if approved by voters, will be overseen by an independent committee of citizens and experts, expiring in four years.

“An independent oversight committee is appointed of community members to ensure that we’re spending the money—our taxpayer dollars—the way we said we would spend them,” Oswald said. “So, for people from the business commune, people from government, and parents, it’d be a representation that we’d meet on a regular basis.”

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Here’s the breakdown of what the district aims to achieve:

 

  • enabling the continuation of funding for over 650 art, music, physical education, choice and career education teachers
  • increasing school security and safety measures
  • allowing for hiring of new mental health professionals, school counselors, social workers and psychologists
  • keeping existing teacher staff levels
  • improve pay for experienced teachers

 

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A 2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics found that Florida’s rank in K-12 education funding per student fell from 36th to 44th in the nation. To some students in the school district, this decrease in funding is alarming.

“We are in constant need of funding of our art materials in order to produce vital pieces. ” visual sophomore Nicole Biclar said. “The lack of funding is definitely alarming in terms of having necessary materials to feed our creative mind and overall success for our goals.”

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Countywide School Question:

“Shall the School Board of Palm Beach County have authority to levy 1.00 mills of ad valorem millage dedicated for operational needs of non-charter District schools to fund school safety equipment, hire additional school police and mental health professionals, fund arts, music, physical education, career and choice program teachers, and improve teacher pay beginning July 1, 2019 and automatically ending June 30, 2023, with oversight by the independent committee of citizens and experts?”

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Election Day is quickly approaching and will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6. There are also early voting days in the meantime. For more information on the proposed referendum, visit www.StrongSchoolsPBC.com.  

 

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About the Writer
Michael Pincus, News Staffer

Communications sophomore and competitive sleeper Michael Pincus is a first-year News staffer. He has a passion for journalism and writes freelance articles...

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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401
ELECTION ON EDUCATION