New School Tax on Ballot
This August Marion County residents will have a chance to vote on whether to pay a new tax for the district's schools.
But the decision to put it on the ballot didn't get finalized without some scuffling by county leaders.
"It goes against the grain of all of our principals," Commissioner Kathy Bryant said.
She and the board members reluctantly agreed, for fear of being sued, to allow two tax referendums to be placed on the primary ballot during Tuesday's county meeting.
"We do not want to see any of our citizens, any of our property owners, any of our tax payers have to pay any more money," Bryant said.
The two referendums would raise $58 million dollars over the next four years for capital improvements to schools, music and media specialists, and to meet state technological requirements.
"In 2014/2015 the state says that all textbooks have to be electronic. Well, we don't have the capital funds for those kinds of expenditures," Marion County School District Spokesperson, Kevin Christian told TV20.
Last year Governor Rick Scott signed off on a nearly two billion dollar cut to public education--later restoring 1 billion of that.
"So your still talking eight to 900 million dollars that was not replaced," Christian said.
It was a formality for the referendums to be signed off on by the board before being passed on to the Supervisor of Elections.
But there were no school districts representatives present during Tuesday's county meeting.
"If we had questions about it, there needed to be somebody from the school board here to answer those questions," Bryant said.
Meanwhile school officials did not expect there to be that much discussion on the subject, according to Christian.
The new taxes would have Marion County residents paying about $100 dollars for every $100,000 in property value.
And Christian says that no money from the new taxes could be used for any pay raises.
Marion County voters will have to cast those ballots on August 14th.
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