Jacksonville, FL — As Duval County Public Schools considers a nearly $2 billion plan to fix up the district's aging school buildings, the school board is eyeing a new half-cent sales tax to help pay for it.
The Duval School Board will consider the half-cent sales tax resolution during their Tuesday, May 7th, meeting. Specifically, the resolution is to ask Duval County voters for a half-cent sales tax over the next 15 years with all of the proceeds going toward projects to improve school buildings. These projects range from outright construction to installing safety and security equipment at schools.
As part of the resolution, the school board will ask the City of Jacksonville to hold a county-wide special election on November 5, 2019, to ask voters about the tax.
The resolution would also include the school board establishing an independent oversight committee of volunteers to monitor how the money from the tax is spent and provide advice.
The school board has released the following potential ballot language:
DCPS spokesperson Laureen Ricks tells WOKV, that Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene would be required to submit a final facilities master plan to the school board for a vote, prior to the half-cent sales tax vote, so that voters would know exactly how their tax dollars would be spent.
If passed by a majority of Duval voters, the sales tax would begin January 1, 2020, and run through December 31, 2035, unless repealed or reduced.
However, even if this resolution is approved by the school board, the City of Jacksonville's Office of General Counsel has released a memorandum, saying, in short, the school board does not have the authority to place a referendum on the ballot. Instead, the memorandum says that decision is up to the City Council.