Referendum to Raise Miami-Dade Teachers' Salaries Overwhelmingly Passes

Referendum 362 would raise the average homeowner’s tax bill by about $142 per year, raising $232 million per year for the next four years

Miami-Dade voters on Tuesday night overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that would increase homeowners' property tax to give pay raises to teachers and bolster school security.

Referendum 362, which passed with 71 percent of voters' approval, would raise the average Miami-Dade homeowner's tax bill by about $142 per year, raising $232 million per year for the next four years.

"I was not surprised, I certainly feel very gratified, it is a huge victory for our entire community," Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho told NBC 6. "When 71 percent of our voters basically say we thank our teachers, we support our kids, we value safety and security."

Eighty-eight percent of the money would go to raise the salaries of teachers and counselors. The exact amounts of the pay raises would be negotiated with the United Teachers of Dade.

Carvalho says the boost will push the teacher salary average from 45th in the country to somewhere above the national average.

"We'll be able to compensate them, meaning, they'll be able to stay in our community and live in our community where they love to work," he said.

Referendum 362 would also provide money to continue the current arrangement of having law enforcement at every school beyond this school year. The district had to make deals with 18 police agencies and municipalities to comply with the new state law requiring a police officer or an armed guardian at every public school.

"In addition to that, every one of our schools will be continued to be supervised by certified professional law enforcement in our entity," Carvalho said.

The first pay raise is expected to take place July of 2019.

NBC 6's Ari Odzer contributed to this report.

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