As election season comes back around this month, educators in Sarasota County are looking back on the 1-mill local option property tax that’s been in place now for 16 years. That 2002 referendum now gives the county school district around $55 million per year, and accounts for just shy of 15 percent of the entire operating budget. According to numbers crunched by the Herald-Tribune, that extra money in the budget is the reason the district has been able to hire more art teachers, pay teachers a higher salary, and keep kids in class an extra 30 minutes per day. With the success Sarasota County has had, Manatee County district leaders are now looking for more of the same, seeking 1 mill from voters there. Both referendums- the new Manatee County levy and one to keep Sarasota County’s going- will be on the March 20 ballot.