We Get Details on the Lee County School Board's Half-Cent Sales Tax Referendum
On Tuesday, November 6 voters in Lee County will be asked to decide whether to raise the sales tax in the county by half a percent for 10 years. The referendum reads: "Shall a half-cent per dollar sales surtax be levied by The School Board to fund the construction of new schools, reconstruction and renovation of existing schools, acquisition of equipment, including safety and security equipment and technology for a 10 year period beginning January 1, 2019, with oversight by an independent citizens’ committee? Proceeds of the surtax will be used to fund the acquisition, construction, renovation, equipping and financing of public school facilities and technology.”
Advocates for the referendum say school funding is not keeping up with student growth, and that the district already doesn’t have enough capital revenue to properly maintain the roughly 13-million square feet of existing infrastructure, let alone make improvements and upgrades.. And they point to the need to increase security and safety measures at schools in the wake of events like the Parkland massacre back in February. Critics say county residents are already overtaxed, and that the school district should do more with its current budget.
We're joined by Dr. Greg Atkins, Superintendent of The School District of Lee County, and School Board Member Chris Patricca, to hear their case in favor of the proposal.