For some time now, the MCTA has wanted to look at where school board personnel reside.

Anecdotally we had been led to believe that many were living outside of Martin County. Why does it matter where they live? For the MCTA purposes it has to do with economic impact and the recruitment of employees at the district.

To ascertain where district personnel live, we made a public records request to the district. We received a spreadsheet with their job titles and addresses along with other information but only used those two columns mentioned for our analysis. The results were rather unexpected.

The current employee roll shows more than half the school district personnel live in Martin County…including teachers. Those that live outside of the district are predominantly residing in Port St. Lucie.

Martin County Map

What this list does not answer is why are we not attracting new employees, especially teachers. Is it because the salary or amount per hour is less than what the person would need to live here? Or is it that other districts pay more and therefore that is where they live work and live.

If teachers and other employees are residents of Martin County, they are also voters that would cast ballots here. It does not appear their votes mattered in the recent school board election. Anderson and Bernstein expressed a much more teacher centric philosophy over the winners Pritchett and Jen Russell. Yet Russell had a landslide and Pritchett beat Anderson by much less but nevertheless won.

Economically speaking, if you live within the county, you are spending your paycheck almost exclusively here. That would be a great benefit but even so is it enough to move the economic needle? Employees living within the county means we would collect more sales and use taxes.

More residents would also mean that other jobs would be created widening the tax base. Yet unless we are creating more housing where would new employees live that are from out of area? No one doubts that there is a shortage of housing. There are multiple disagreements on how that housing should be supplied.

Depending on the employment category, most employees do call Martin County home. The big unknown is how many Martin County residents or those that live elsewhere would take a job at the district at the salaries offered?

Lastly, since most non-Martin residents live in Port St. Lucie, how much does it really affect us and to what extent. Looking at the data that we have, we can’t say definitively, but we don’t believe it does.

There is a shortage of teachers and other employees throughout the state. We are competing with every other surrounding district and beyond. The main incentive for people to work here would be how much we pay to a large extent and, secondarily, the quality of the work environment including the demeanor of students, parents, and administrators. Lastly is there enough apartments and homes for the employees the district needs to attract.

If you enjoy articles such as this, please consider joining Martin County Taxpayers Association