St. Lucie voters approve tax to boost teacher pay

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The tax hike is projected to raise about $22 million per year.

In the first-ever all mail-in ballot held in St. Lucie County, voters chose to approve a proposed one mill property tax increase that would go toward funding teacher pay and school security.

The unofficial results show 66 percent of voters approved the referendum, while 34 percent opposed it.

In all, nearly 67,000 voters participated via mail in the special election. All ballots were due by 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

The tax hike, which will last for four years, is projected to raise about $22 million per year. Of the money raised, 70 percent would go to boosting teacher pay, 25 percent would be used on school safety improvement, 4 percent would help expand mental health services, and 1 percent would go toward other school programs.

Starting teachers in St. Lucie County currently make $37,760, which is lower than teachers in surrounding counties.

“The record number of returned ballots and support from our community speaks volumes to the value placed on a quality public school education system,” said St. Lucie County Superintendent E. Wayne Gent following the vote.

“High performing students must have high performing teachers, and they must have opportunities to learn on safe and secure campuses.”

The St. Lucie Classroom Teachers’ Association also released a statement celebrating the referendum’s passage.

“The vote tonight was more than a referendum for additional funding for salaries, safety, and mental health services,” said Rebecca Petrie, the group’s Vice President.

“It was a community commitment to our students, our educators, and our future.”

The county’s spending of the money raised by the tax bump will be overseen by a Citizens Advisory Committee.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


5 comments

  • Jan

    April 24, 2019 at 9:53 am

    I applaud the voters of St. Lucie. Now teachers are more likely to stay there rather than look for jobs in Martin County, etc. However, teachers in general are still grossly underpaid and dedication only goes so far.
    Having taught in the Florida public schools for 35 years I have seen many excellent teachers leave for better paying jobs and excellent teacher candidates not even enter the profession at all.

  • Charles

    April 24, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Why should home owners have to pay for this? Let the parents pay.They’re the ones who made the choice to have children. It’s their responsibility, not the property owners.

    • Shelly

      April 24, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      Throwing money at something doesn’t work. The teachers will always say they never get paid enough. If you are unhappy, then leave. St Lucie county residence already pay high property taxes. Stop your whinning. Raising any type of taxes is not the answer to all problems. We are taxed enough.

    • Shelly

      April 24, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      I agree with you Charles 100%. Raising taxes is “neither” the answer nor the solution. St Lucie county’s answer to everything is raise the sales tax, raise property taxes. It is a never ending thing with this county. I am getting sick and tired of the teachers in this county always complaining they don’t get enough pay, will it ever be enough to them. I haven’t had kids in school for over 55 years, why should I be paying more property tax for teachers. I live on a fixed income, my SS doesn’t increase.

  • Jan

    April 24, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Maybe those against pay raises for teachers should try volunteering in a school for just one day–if they can get past the first hour.

Comments are closed.


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