By: Gil Smart, Treasure Coast Newspapers
Think Martin County teachers deserve more money?
Come Aug. 28, you can vote to make it happen.
On Wednesday, the Martin County School Board divvied up all the revenue it hopes to get if voters pass a half-mill property tax increase on the Aug. 28 primary ballot. To my surprise, they're planning to give $8.2 million of the $11.2 million in anticipated new annual revenue to teachers — a whopping 77 percent.
I was surprised because the district has lots of needs, including new security in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. Some of the money will need to be funneled in that direction.
With the bulk of it earmarked for teachers, the August plebiscite is now a clear referendum on teacher pay. That, actually, might make it easier to sell this tax hike to voters ... whenever school officials finally get around to selling it.
To say there's a solid case Martin County teachers are underpaid is an understatement.
According to state figures, the average teacher salary here at the end of the 2016-17 school year was $45,780 ($46,528 if you factor in guidance counselors, school psychologists, social workers and librarians).
Either way, it's well below the state average of $47,858.
Florida's teachers are among the worst-paid in the country. Only Utah, New Mexico, South Dakota, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Mississippi pay teachers less…