On Aug. 23, 2022 Duval County voters showed their support for Duval teachers and students by passing the one mill property tax referendum, becoming the 21st Florida district to pass the one mill tax for education. The additional property tax will allow the district to provide teachers, particularly veteran teachers, with additional compensation and upgrade equipment and uniforms in the arts as well as fields, bleachers, and playgrounds in athletics. Charter schools will get a proportionate share based upon enrollment, as required by the state. Twenty other Florida school districts had already approved the one mill for education.
For over a decade, JPEF's research has shown that compensation is one of the key factors in recruiting and retaining teachers. Voter approval of the referendum is a big step in addressing that issue.
"We are so grateful to the voters for their support of teachers and, ultimately, our students," said Rachael Tutwiler Fortune, JPEF President. "Teachers are the biggest in-school factor for student success and through this referendum, Duval County will be more competitive when it comes to recruiting teachers and for retaining our most experienced teachers."
JPEF thanks all the voters who turned out to support our teachers and our students! Below is additional information on how the property tax will be used and JPEF's research on the need for increased compensation.
In order to provide information on this issue to voters, JPEF held three online forums.
July 21 Forum:
Aug. 9 Forum:
"What's at Stake, What Will it Take"
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.