Jacksonville, FL - The Clay County School district sent Action News Jax photos showing old and rusty heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, broken water fountains, weather-worn doors and rusty lockers.
It’s only a glimpse at the problems that the school district is dealing with but has no money to fix.
“I was in Orange Park High School touring it, and the ceiling in the welding department, the welding room, huge room, was literally falling down,” said school board member Janice Kerekes.
The district said it currently needs $318 million for repairs and renovations and another $300 million to build between five and seven new schools.
“We need to stop kicking the can down the road. We need to be proactive, and we need to go out on a sales tax,” said Kerekes.
Kerekes, who represents Distric 1, is the board member who made the proposal to increase the sales tax by half a penny to pay for the repairs and new construction.
It’s a plan voters Action News Jax spoke with Thursday say they’ll support.
“I think we need all the money we can get for the education of our children,” said Jan Snyder.
While school board members agree the repairs and new schools are needed not everyone agrees on how to move forward.
On June 27, the Clay County school board will decide on whether the issue should be put on a ballot sometime this year.
The Thursday night meeting begins at 6:00 in Fleming Island High School.
This issue is not unique to Clay County.
Schools across the state are dealing with little to no capital improvement funding from Tallahassee, leaving them to seek other sources of revenue.