Mayor shares concerns on school sales tax; school district responds

Duval County School Board wants referendum on half-cent sales tax

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Mayor Lenny Curry called into The Morning Show on Wednesday, speaking about his questions and concerns with the Duval County School Board’s request for a half-cent sales tax referendum, and the school district is responding.

"They have not sat with me and others on city council and shared with us detailed revenue projections, what the priority list would be," Curry said.

The Duval County School District said several meetings have been held in past weeks between school district leaders and city leaders. Some were closed door meetings involving Curry, City Council President Aaron Bowman, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene and School Board Chair Lori Hershey.

Other meetings were open to the public and involved nearly the full council and school board.

“How much is going to come in?” Curry asked on The Morning Show. “What is the actual total project cost?”

For weeks, the school board has continued to say the tax would conservatively bring in about $80 million a year and the total project would cost about $1.9 billion.

“And then what's the cost analysis per location?” Curry asked on The Morning Show.

SUMMARY: School district's response to Curry
LINK: Half-cent sales tax analyses
DOCUMENT: Duval schools' Master Facilities Plan

The Master Facilities Plan, released weeks ago by the school district, breaks down the amount of money that would be spent on each individual school.

Curry also asked how much money the district will borrow and what the debt service plan is.

News4Jax reported earlier this month that Greene is recommending a $500 million bond for the first five years of the project. The bond will accrue interest and the district said it has a plan to pay it off.

The school district said the financial plan was created by PFM LLC, a company that does similar work for the city.

School district leaders said at a recent meeting between the school district and City Council, members were encouraged to ask any financial questions to the financial firm, but no questions were asked.

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