On the Aug. 23 primary ballot Duval County voters will be voting on a proposed 1 mil ad valorem tax increase that will be used to support teacher compensation and for school band and athletic activities. You can find the wording of the referendum and more information from DCPS here.
Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers is the most critical school-based factor in improving student success. A decade of JPEF research shows strong community support of prioritizing teacher compensation as the path forward to advance equitable outcomes in our community.
In order to provide information on this issue to voters, JPEF is hosting three online forums.
July 21 Forum:
The next Referendum Forum will be held on August 9 at 6 p.m.
Fewer People Going into Teaching
A 2018 JPEF report showed that teaching is not as appealing a profession for the millennial generation. Between 2010 and 2014, the percentage of high school graduates interested in education as a major declined by 16 percent. One large factor was teacher salaries. The report recommended, among other things, attaching advancement and growth to increased teacher pay.
Teacher Turnover Costs Money, is Not Equitable
In a 2021 report, JPEF looked at the teacher retention rate for Duval County. While DCPS had an 84% retention rate, JPEF found the rate to be closer to 75% due to inter-district transfers. Each teacher that permanently leaves DCPS costs the district about $11,000 in hiring and training to replace, and for the 2018-19 Academic Year, the cost of all teacher turnover was approximately $12 million. Beyond financial costs, teacher attrition can create inequities for students most in need of support and exacerbate gaps in opportunity these students already experience. Study findings indicate that teacher attrition does not affect all Duval schools equally. Schools serving larger proportions of students from low-income backgrounds and students of color are more likely to experience teacher turnover. The study also found the teacher workforce in Duval County Public Schools is less diverse than the student body.
Public Support of Education Funding
For seven years, beginning in 2013, JPEF's Public Perceptions Poll asked Duval County residents their opinions on public schools, including taxes. One question asked, "Would you support or oppose a small increase in taxes if those taxes specifically go to local public education needs?” The results showed support for a small increase for public education needs.