There is a movement in the town of Dartmouth to increase the salaries of its public teachers. A significant increase will require raising taxes.

The economy is roaring in America at this moment. There is a tight labor market for professionals with valued skills in America due to the roaring economy. Now is the time for workers, both union and non-union, to look for an increase in their wages and benefits.

The Dartmouth Educators Association is asking for just such an increase.

A number of elected officials in Dartmouth have come to the conclusion that it is the right time to ask the taxpayers to transfer more of their money to fund quality education for the children of their town.

This discussion will ultimately be decided by the citizens of Dartmouth at the ballot box when they are asked to increase their property taxes with a general override of Proposition 2½.

The teachers union and some elected officials are in support of this override. There are other residents who are in opposition to a tax increase. Somewhere in between are the folks who want to hear the facts and make a decision based on those facts. This is an old-fashion New England-style local democracy in full working order.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the average teacher in Dartmouth is paid $77,109 per academic year. There are 275 teachers in the district as of December 5, 2019, according to the DESE data.

Average teacher salaries around the SouthCoast, according to the same data:

Acushnet: $76,860

Fairhaven: $71,476

Fall River: $65,614

Freetown/Lakeville: $75,616

Dimon Vocational: $88,863

Greater N.B. Vocational: $81,507

Marion: $86,151

Mattapoisett: $78,574

New Bedford: $72,850

Old Colony: $74,812

Old Rochester: $83,437

Rochester: $86,886

Wareham: $74,431

Westport: $75,012

The town of Dartmouth pays, on average, more to its teachers than other local communities but below the state average by a few thousand dollars. This is the information the folks in Dartmouth need to make an informed decision at the ballot box.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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