Northeast Florida voters showed their support for local school districts on Election Day, with half-cent sales tax referendums approved for both Duval County Public Schools and Clay County Schools.
Duval Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene spoke to WOKV following the referendum’s passage on election night saying she’s really excited.
“Duval County has the oldest schools in the state of Florida. That one sentence alone, really states the need. But our master facilities plan is very conservative in that, over the next 15 years, we deem to build 28 schools. 26 of them being replacement schools and two schools for growth,” said Greene.
She says the number one issue that the district plans to focus on in the first three years is safety and security.
An independent oversight committee of citizens will monitor how the money is spent, according to Greene.
“Our goal is to be transparent and to show our community whether they voted for it or not, that the funds that will be raised will be spent on the master facilities plan over the next 15 years,” said Greene.
Meanwhile, in Clay County, Clay Superintendent David Broskie also spoke to WOKV following the passage of the sales tax there.
“It’s a great night for the students of Clay County that we’re able to provide for them the type of infrastructure that we always dreamed of having in Clay County, but never were able to finance,” said Broskie.
He acknowledges this was a ‘weird’ time to have a sales tax on the ballot as many have lost jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m just so proud of our community to recognize that schools are important, education is important, our students in Clay County are important. And this half-cent sales tax will help us provide the type of environment that we want our students to have in Clay County. So, this is a victory for all of Clay County," Broskie said.
Broskie says Clay County Schools has 900 portable classrooms, which is the 3rd most in the whole state of Florida. He said this vote was the first step in making sure students get a world-class education in excellent facilities.
In terms of monitoring how the money is spent, he says there will be an oversight committee to make sure your tax dollars are spent on either growth or maintenance needs within the district.