Clay County teachers push to get tax resolution to voters

Tax would fund repairs to crumbling public schools in county

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A group of teachers from across Clay County urged School Board members to keep fighting for the half cent sales tax resolution on Thursday night.

The Board of County Commissioners in Clay County has voted unanimously against putting a half-cent sales tax referendum on a ballot. The tax would be used to fund renovations and upgrades for schools.

During a meeting Thursday night, teachers pleaded with school board members not to let the resolution get swept under the rug.

"I put in over a dozen work orders for my classroom alone because the A/C was not working in my classroom," a teacher from Orange Park High School said. "As a teacher in the state of Florida, I kind of expect to have A/C working in my classroom."

The school board is suing the Board of County Commissioners in an attempt to get the half-cent sales tax resolution in front of voters in 2019.

Clay County School Board Chairwoman Carol Studdard says right now, they're stalled after a judge gave commissioners seven days to state why he should rule in their favor.

"Our attorney is filing a response to that briefing, and so we are all in just a waiting pattern," Studdard said. "We're doing the best we can, and hopefully, if things go well, we'll be able to repair air conditioners a lot faster in the future."

The board said there are 42 public schools in the county and upgrades would cost about $350 million. Because of projected growth over the next five to 10 years, the district expects to pay an additional $300 million.

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