A property tax increase that passed in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy is set to expire this year. Over the past four years, the Clay County school district used that money to form its own police force, putting an officer at every school. They’ve improved safety by adding fencing and limiting access. The question now for Clay voters is whether a tax hike from four years ago should continue.
The mass shooting in Uvalde has made this vote that much more critical to Clay County parents. Darin Brown is a 6th grade teacher in Clay and a parent. He says the schools in the district are secure. “There’s things in place in schools that when you and I went to school we would have never dreamed of doing,” Brown said.
Brown continued, “Clay county’s done an excellent job of preparing teachers and students in a safe way and in a calm way but with that urgency that if something was ever to come to fruition or happen we’d be prepared.”
School Board Member Tina Bullock said the district has done a lot in the past four years.
“What we did was we hardened our schools,” Bullock said. “We have single, one point of single entry for our students. You know, before schools were built where everybody could just walk in everywhere. And now we’ve hardened our schools with cameras, fencing, that single point of entry, all those kinds of things.”
But voters will have to decide whether they want the higher tax rate which essentially comes out to an extra $150 a year for a home with a $150,000 dollar assessed value.
And this time around 4% of the tax hike will partially go to Charter Schools for added security, if it’s approved by voters in November.