Bay District School Board members educated voters on millage referendum

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 9:14 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As April inches closer, Bay District School Board members want to educate people on one thing on the April ballot. Board members have been pushing for a millage rate increase since it was proposed by Superintendent Bill Husfelt back in January.

Tuesday, board members held a millage rate workshop in hopes of educating people on the complexity of the district’s financing.

Husfelt said the biggest takeaway from the workshop was telling people what the millage referendum is. He adds the board got to see data from previously passed referendums and the impact it had on district salaries.

Husfelt said since 2008, the money received from current millage rates has gone up about $150 per student, which he considers terrible. He clarified the half-cent sales tax goes towards capital expenses like technology, construction, and textbooks, but not teacher salaries.

“If I got $10 million in sales tax revenue from the half-cent sales tax, I can’t touch that for salaries. I can’t give teachers raises for it. I can’t give paraprofessionals raises, or bus drivers raises,” said Husfelt.

Husfelt said he wants people to know the difference between capital and operational spending before voting. Money from the millage rate increase would go to not only teachers and other district employees, but security, mental health services, and Pre-K.

“You’re never going to have someone stand up and say this is a good time for a tax increase and I understand that. I understand there’s going to be people that say ‘no, I don’t believe in this,’ and I respect that, but then the only thing I ask is to make sure you’re getting the right information for why you’re not voting for it,” said Husfelt.

The millage rate increase will be on the ballot April 20th.

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