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Pinellas County Schools Referendum up for vote on November ballot, program funding at stake

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Posted at 5:54 AM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 08:16:32-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Pinellas County Schools referendum is up for a vote on November 3.

In 2004, voters approved the referendum and have renewed the half mill property tax every four years.

The referendum puts extra property tax dollars towards local schools. Since 2004, it has raised about $477 million.

According to district officials, if voters in Pinellas County approve the renewal this year, property owners will pay an extra 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable value on their homes.

Leaders say the referendum costs the average homeowner an extra $78 a year.

The district says that money is used to strengthen reading, music, and arts programs.

Some of that includes paying for art supplies, instrument rental fees for students who can’t afford them, literacy programs to help students read at grade level, and paid admission for field trips to museums and art galleries.

School officials say the funding also provides up-to-date technology and textbooks and helps recruit and retain teachers.

Leaders say 80% of referendum revenue supplements teacher salaries.

This year the district tells us each teacher receives a salary supplement of $5,231 as part of their base salary