More than 2,300 yard signs were picked up Saturday morning to support the campaign to pass a one mill property tax increase for teachers. The sign pickup was held from 9 a.m. until noon at the firefighter training center on Stockton Street. School board chairman Daryl Willie, who is also co-chair of the campaign committee, called the turnout for signs, “a good indication citizens understand and support the need to raise the salaries of our teachers. As we begin the new school year, we face 500 vacancies as our best teachers leave for higher paying teaching jobs in adjacent counties or enter the corporate world.”
Currently, Duval County ranks 58th out of 68 Florida school districts and is last among the seven large urban districts in years of teaching experience. According to a state report, the county is ranked 40th out of 69 school districts with an average teacher salary of $47,458 annually. That’s last among the seven large urban districts.
A new report by the Florida Department of Education said Duval County leads the state with a critical shortage of certified teachers. English, Exceptional Student Education, general science reading, math and physical science were cited as the “direst need.”
In addition to the yard signs, built by volunteers from Duval Teachers United, the campaign constructed 100 large commercial signs. “If anyone knows a good commercial location, please contact me at 495-4963,” said Willie.