All sides met on Duval County school sales tax issue

City Council to take up referendum request again next week

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The debate continues over if and when Jacksonville voters will be asked to approve a half-cent sales tax for capital improvements for public schools continues. 

After Duval County's school superintendent, School Board chairwoman, Jacksonville mayor and City Council president sat down behind closed doors Friday, all sides said it was a good meeting but wouldn't say whether there was agreement about putting a referendum on the ballot, either this November or one year later.

"The meeting allowed us to express concerns from both sides," Superintendent Diana Greene said. “We think we can collaborate from this point forward."

Board chairwoman Lori Hershey agreed. She said there was a discussion about the role of charter schools in the tax. 

“People have to remember that they are public schools, as well," Hershey said.

Mayor Lenny Curry said it was a good meeting and he is getting answers he wanted.

“We all agree that our schools need work. We just need to figure out the path forward," Curry said. "We all agreed that we’re going to work together towards a productive answer.”

Curry said he does not believe there is enough time to get the half-cent tax question on the ballot for a special election in November, which was the School Board's initial request.

City Council President Scott Wilson said council committees will begin dealing with that next week.

“So it comes up on Tuesday (in) Rules and Finance (committees) and I don’t know how members of those committees feel,” Wilson said.

The Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office said Friday they could rush to get it on a ballot this November if the council acts by August.

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