The Miami-Dade School Board tentatively approved the school district’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 budget during its July budget public hearing.
Once again, taxpayers will see a decrease in the millage for non-referendum (voted) revenue from 6.504 to 6.275. Although voters overwhelmingly approved an assessment in November solely to be used for teacher salaries and school security, taxpayers will only see an estimated increase of 0.415 mills, 45 percent lower than the 0.75 they voted for at the ballot box.
The primary focus of the proposed $5.4 billion budget is that of continuing to improve student achievement as well as ensuring school safety, providing for students’ mental health needs, and the protection of the highly effective instructional staff.
“We are once again delivering a values-based budget that prioritizes students and protects our workforce,” said superintendent of schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “Through the efforts of our visionary school board and our financial team, the state-mandated and board-controlled tax rates will be lower than last year’s, yet there will be increases to average teacher salaries, spending on safety and security, and counseling and other mental health services.”
Through the newly available revenue approved by the voters in the November referendum, the investment in safety and security of students will increase by $29 million, ensuring that a police officer will be present at every school. Proportional revenue from Safe Schools will be given to charter schools.
More than $1 million will be allocated to increased counseling and mental health services.
The budget will reflect the district’s commitment to student achievement by, among other investments, supporting the expansion of parental choice options, protecting services to students with disabilities and protecting academic programs such as eight-period day and Middle School Redesign.
This budget increases teacher salaries by $211 million, resulting in an increase in the average teacher salary of more than 15 percent to above the national average and potentially the highest in the state. An additional $16 million will be made available for collective bargaining opportunities to increase non-referendum supported salaries. Additionally, affordable employee healthcare will be maintained.
Thanks to taxpayers, the district continues to accelerate the implementation of the General Obligation Bond program with 1,053 projects at various stages of development.
The Miami-Dade County School Board will hold the final public hearing and adopt the FY 2019-20 budget on Sept. 4, at 6 p.m., in the auditorium of the School Board Administration Building, 1450 NE Second Ave.
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