Sales tax hike will help repair, renovate schools

Virginia

Southeast / Virginia 6 Views

The half-cent sales tax initiative to help fund Alachua County public school facilities passed Tuesday night, with 68 percent of votes in favor of the referendum.
 
Existing sales tax in the county will now be raised to 7 cents, generating an annual amount of $22 million that can be pumped into school infrastructure projects for the next 12 years.

Starting Jan. 1, the half-cent surtax will cost families in the county an average of $5 a month to finance security improvements and renovation of school buildings.

“(The tax) means that our kids and our teachers can teach and learn in safe environments,” said Pam Korithoski, Alachua County Council PTA president.

With the new funds, the school board can now begin work on a project list that includes renovating 23 elementary schools, 14 middle and high schools and five learning centers.

“It’s important we put these kids in schools they can be proud of because when they feel good about their schools they learn better." said Gunnar Paulson, Alachua County School Board chairman.

With $170 million being cut from district school facilities in the past decade, many schools require repairs, such as broken air conditioning and leaking roofs.

The half-cent tax is hoped to get funding and maintenance back on track, and then some.

“We are ecstatic and we are happy,” Korithoski said. “We want to thank Alachua County voters for voting for our kids.”

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