Pasco Schools salaries are not competitive with surrounding counties. We struggle to recruit and retain teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, etc. The result is an over-reliance on substitute teachers and hard-to-fill vacancies in many positions. That has a real impact on students. For instance, the bus driver shortage has resulted in chronically late buses and loss of instructional time.
The Pinellas and Hernando school districts have an advantage because their voters already approved a referendum to enhance salaries. Hillsborough already pays teachers more and is contemplating a referendum to further enhance salaries.
Pasco cannot rely solely on state funding to provide sufficient funds to pay employees and remain competitive with surrounding school districts.
Years ago, the Legislature provided a mechanism for voters to agree to provide more revenue for their local schools by increasing the local millage rate by an amount not to exceed 1 mill. Voters in many districts around the state have already approved such initiatives, including six school districts in 2020.
Pasco Schools has decided to ask voters to approve a referendum to raise the local millage rate by an amount not to exceed 1 mill. The additional funds would be used exclusively to increase non-administrative salaries. That’s more pay for teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, instructional assistants, school psychologists, school nurses, custodians, maintenance workers, and others.