After Clay County voters passed a half-cent sales tax to fund school maintenance needs for things like failing HVAC systems and eliminating some portable classrooms, News4Jax is getting a better idea of how the revenue from the new tax will be spent and what the priorities are for the school district.
School leaders will soon begin game planning which HVAC units and roofs need replacing on aging schools.
Assistant Superintendent of Operations Bryce Ellis joined “The Morning Show” Thursday for an update on some of the schools that are first in line.
“There are a few places we can do the permanent classrooms. We actually have Lake Asbury Elementary on the list this year to start design and replacement. We have the beltway coming through there, and there’s a lot of growth expected, and we need to switch over to the permanent classrooms there," Ellis said. "Also at Fleming Island Elementary and Paterson Elementary, those schools have a lot of portables, and we need to start right away.”
The cash generated for the school district can’t be used on salaries -- it has to go to maintenance. In addition, there will be an oversight committee set up soon to determine where money needs to be spent.
Another issue that will soon be critical is building new schools near the outer beltway that’s quickly being built through Clay County.
“The first one is an elementary school, and it’s in the Green Cove area. It’s off of [County] Road 315," Ellis said. "Again, with the beltway coming through, we have a lot of growth coming to the area and we’re going to need to be prepared for that growth.”
A couple of years ago, the district passed a four-year property tax hike to fund school security. It’s a separate tax.
District leaders said they wanted this new tax hike to be a sales tax so it wouldn’t be the sole responsibility of Clay County property owners.