FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward School Board has passed a property tax increase referendum for funding several services.

Tuesday afternoon, The Broward County School Board agreed to ask voters in the upcoming month’s election for a property tax increase to help retain teachers, increase their pay, improve safety measures and mental health services.

“This referendum is the only mechanism available for the board to raise additional funds outside the legislative process,” said School Board Chair Laurie Rich Levinson.

The referendum passed unanimously.

The referendum will appear on the ballot during the primary election, to be held on Aug. 23. If voters approve, it would generate $177 million for Broward County Public Schools and $45 million for Broward County Charter Schools.

School Board members said the money is very much in need.

“Without that funding that layer of security would dissolve, and then we would also have to figure out how do we find funds in order to ensure that we have at a minimum the guardians on our elementary school campuses,” said Broward County Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright. “We want to keep our quality talent here in Broward County Public Schools, and we also want to be able to recruit quality talent into the district.”

If the vote fails, the district would have to cut or find other money for 500 safety and security positions as well as 100 mental health counselors. For teachers, they would lose their yearly supplements, which has ranged from about $1,500 to about $8,000.

With the passing of the referendum, the Board will plan a vote on how the money will be distributed.

If voters approve, the increase to homeowners’ property taxes would break down to about $23 per household.

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