JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County School Board plans to vote this month to ask the voters to approve a half-cent sales tax to raise funds needed to renovate and replace dozens of crumbling schools in Jacksonville.
The increase, which could be placed on a special election ballot in November, would bring Jacksonville's total sales tax to 7.5% and fund the $1.95 billion needed over the next decade to improve older school buildings or build new schools. The board will hold a workshop Tuesday, where it's expected to discuss the proposed resolution.
If passed, the half-cent sales tax would be implemented Jan. 1, 2020, and be in place for 15 years unless it was reduced or repealed.
The resolution is the board’s official request for the Jacksonville City Council to direct the supervisor of elections to hold a countywide election Nov. 5, 2019. The board also explicitly authorizes the use of mail ballots for the referendum election in accordance with the procedures outlined in Florida statutes.
Marvin Wilson is a parent who supports the district upgrading schools, but he doesn't agree with its plan to consolidate some of the high schools with middle schools. In the plan, schools like Raines and Ribault high schools could become sixth through 12th grade campuses.
Wilson believes consolidating the schools will increase peer pressure and bullying.
"The need for security will be greatly needed because now you have older kids trying to get to younger kids, and the younger kids try to get to the older kids," Wilson said.
In addition to revamping the schools, the district's goal is improved security and technology.
"I think building is not a bad idea because I think our community really needs new schools," Wilson said.
The board wants the sales tax referendum on a November ballot, which would be voted on during a special election.
Local-option sales taxes in every Florida county
In addition to Florida's 6% sales tax, most Florida counties levy additional "local option" taxes, ranging from 0.5% up to 2.5%. Duval County's total sales tax is currently 7% -- 1% of it local. On the map below, the darker the green, the higher the tax. Point to any county to see its rate.