During its meeting held Tuesday, July 19, 2022, the Martin County School Board finalized how the Martin County School District (MCSD) would use funding if Martin County voters reauthorize the “up-to” one half-mill property tax on August 23, 2022.
In 2018, Martin County voters approved a millage rate referendum that is now set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Once that happens, MCSD will see a reduction in revenue of approximately $47 million over the next four years unless Martin County voters approve a renewal of the referendum.
For the 2022-2023 school year, the School Board will allocate millage funding to the five categories established under the original referendum: school safety and security, mental health programs, recruiting and retaining teachers and support staff, professional development and academic initiatives. The Board’s decision is based on input provided by teachers, staff and members of the Martin County community through a recent survey.
“As a Board, we are grateful for the engagement of our entire community as we have determined how we would allocate the funds provided through a successful renewal of the 'up to' one half-mill property tax referendum,” said Christia Li Roberts, School Board Chair. “We deeply value all of our employees and understand their needs. As a result, we have again allocated a large portion of these funds to our teachers in the form of stipends, and more than doubled the funding that was provided for compensation of support staff under the original referendum. We feel confident that the plan we approved reflects the wishes and goals of our Martin County community.”
Upon voters’ reauthorization of the referendum on August 23, the District will distribute allocated funds to teacher and support staff based on direction from the collective bargaining units - the Martin County Education Association (MCEA) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local #597 - while maintaining three additional Martin County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers (SROs) at its high schools and two at the early childhood learning campuses.
Mental health programs funded through a successful referendum will include the maintenance and expansion of the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program across the District and the continued funding of additional high school guidance counselors. Funds would also go toward two school psychologists, four intervention problem solving (IPS) coaches and ten multi-tiered systems of support staff (MTSS) positions.
“We continue to seek ways to enhance safety and security in our schools while supporting our students’ mental and emotional health,” said Board Chair Roberts. “We appreciate and value the District’s relationship with the Martin County Sheriff's Office, which allows us to have additional deputies protecting our schools. We also look to double down on support for student mental health, with more trained eyes on children and opportunities for professionals to build proactive, nurturing relationships with our students. These goals would be achieved with the millage allocations the Board has approved.”
More information on the millage referendum item that will appear on voters’ ballots will appear on the District’s website in the coming days.