Written by: Isabella Zimmermann
Voters in the upcoming November election will be able to vote on Referendum 362 and decide whether Miami-Dade teacher wages will increase. As of now, the district average for a yearly salary is $51,819, according to the Florida Department of Education’s 2017-2018 teacher salary data.
Individual teacher wages in Florida are behind those of many other states by several thousands of dollars. According to data from Trulia, teachers are struggling to afford 91 percent of Miami homes.
“For almost two decades our schools have been underfunded and we continue to see that this has impacted our schools. But despite the underfunding, our educators have continued to excel and have given more, despite having less,” United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats in a press conference said.
However, Referendum 362 proposes that wages be increased by up to 20 percent through the increase of property taxes. Taxes will increase by as much as 75 cents per one thousand dollars of taxable property value in order to raise $232 million dollars annually for the next four years. The district plans to allocate around 80 to 90 percent of these funds towards improving teacher salaries while the rest would go towards resources that would increase security on school campuses.
“Children deserve good quality education and quality carries a price as always. I’m willing to increase my own taxes to ensure that all teacher salaries can be raised to a decent and fair level,” foreign language teacher Felizitas Reby said.
Overall, the amendment aims to hopefully carry out a four-year plan to not only improve the salaries of the teachers that we see on a daily basis, but also increase security measures and provide a sense of safety every day at school.