JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Revenue generated from a half-cent sales tax, which was approved by Duval County voters in November, has started rolling in and taxpayers will soon be able to track exactly how the money is being used.
As of April 14, the tax had generated $6,689,011, of which $5,766,469 went to DCPS and $922,542 is headed for charter schools, according to the district’s website.
“This district will use this website to keep stakeholders informed on how the new half-penny sales surtax is being used to improve school environments throughout the district,” the website says.
The projects that are poised to be funded by the half-cent surtax were pre-approved by the Duval County Public Schools board in 2019, including more than a billion dollars worth of outstanding maintenance projects, which the district said were put off due to state funding cuts.
Preparation for the tax began years earlier with an engineering study to find out the sum of the district’s maintenance needs and an enrollment study to help inform the board and the public about the predicted student population.
The district’s Master Facilities Plan lays out the budgeted projects for each zone and each school and resident will be able to keep track of money being collected and where funds are directed through the district’s online dashboard, which it says is in the final stages of development.
“Stay tuned as we finalize our dashboard,” the website said. “Testing and modifications are in progress as we prepare for final release.”
On Wednesday, the district removed the dashboard’s beta version from its website in order to “make adjustments,” according to DCPS spokesperson Tracy Pierce, who added that the final version of the web tool will be completed and published “in a few days.”
The half-cent sales tax is expected to generate $1.9 billion over its 15-year life.