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Voters To Decide On Tax Increase For Local School’s Benefit

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Alachua County voters will decide during the 2018 General Election in November whether to pay a higher sales tax to help local schools fund renovations, repairs and expansions.

The referendum, which will read: “Half-Cent Per Dollar Sales Surtax for Educational Facility Improvements and Equipment” on the ballot, would work out to about $5 a month per household over the course of 12 years, according to district officials.

If passed, the tax would bring Alachua County Public Schools about $22 million a year for improvements for outdated classrooms.

“You have got to have a strong school system, a quality school system, in order to attract businesses and jobs, have a strong economic base,” said Jackie Johnson, Alachua County school district spokeswoman. “And that’s really what this is all about, is creating a stronger community by having stronger, higher quality schools.”

Johnson said the district has not been able to afford major improvements and has been limited to basic repairs.

“We have lost over $168 million in funding over the last 10 years because of the decisions that have been made in Tallahassee,” Johnson said. “There’s no way to make up that money other than by doing this.”

About Landon McFee

Landon is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by emailing news@wuft.org or calling 352-392-6397.

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