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Palm Beach, FL: Tax increase partly due to more mental health services/security in schools

June 8, 2018, My Palm Beach Post: PBC schools chief calls for $150 million hike in school property taxes https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local-education/pbc-schools-chief-calls-for-150-million-hike-school-property-taxes/Kn4QIOEoDEhNTySQKGLHAN/ Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy wants to ask voters to raise school property taxes by $150 million a year, a move that could generate an influx of cash for security, mental health services and higher teacher salaries in the county’s public schools…. Currently, the special property tax, set at $25 per $100,000 of taxable property value, generates almost $50 million a year to pay for more than 650 extra teaching positions in specialized choice programs and arts and music classes. That’s in addition to the regular school property taxes set jointly by the school board and state lawmakers. Fennoy’s proposal would raise the rate to $100 per $100,000 of taxable property value, generating $200 million a year. For the owner of a home with a $300,000 appraised taxable value and no exemptions, the increase would mean paying an extra $225 a year in school taxes next year. With small budget increases from state lawmakers in recent years, school district leaders say teacher salaries have not kept pace with the rising cost of living. Marginal pay raises for teachers have prompted growing numbers of young educators to leave the profession. At the same time, the Parkland school shooting led to new state requirements to increase the number of officers on school campuses and expand mental health services for students. … The money also could pay for expanded mental health services and equipment for school police officers. The increase “will provide necessary funding to expand mental health staff in schools and sustain the growth of the school police force with officers and equipment,” Amity Schuyler, the school district’s chief of staff, said Friday....