Clay County commissioners reject half-cent school tax resolution

Clay County School Board plans to sue county commission

By Nick Jones - Digital producer, Scott Johnson - Reporter

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - The Clay County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday against the proposed half-cent sales tax resolution that would have appeared on a ballot in 2019.

The resolution was sent back to the Clay County School Board for refinement. Commissioners requested that an agreement be reached for the referendum to be placed on the 2020 general election ballot.

Janice Kerekes, a member of the Clay County School Board, said the board plans to sue the county commission after the vote.

"Very disappointing. Disappointed they basically didn't do their job like they're supposed to. This is ministerial on their part. The School Board has the authority to levy a half-cent sales surtax and the BCC (Board of County Commissioners) is to follow the law," Kerekes said. "Our board has already authorized the legal challenge. We wrote it into the resolution, so we hope it will be filed by the end of this week."

A half-cent sales tax resolution would help pay for improvements to Clay County public schools. Photos shared by the school district show some of the run-down and rusty equipment in some of the schools.

The school board said it needs about $350 million for upgrades and an additional $300 million to build new schools. The tax would span 30 years, bringing in about $13.5 million annually.

In May, the Duval County School Board voted to place a referendum for a half-cent sales tax on a special election ballot. The Jacksonville City Council has not voted on the request.

The push for action continued on Tuesday night in Duval County, where the NAACP organized a meeting at FSCJ downtown. The goal for the civil rights organization and school district leaders was to educate people about the state of education facilities in Duval County.

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