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Breaking down half-cent sales taxes on Duval, Clay ballots

Both school districts hope voters will approve taxes meant to fund school building improvements, security upgrades

School districts hoping for half-cent sales tax
School districts hoping for half-cent sales tax

Both the Duval County and Clay County school districts are hoping voters will approve half-cent sales taxes meant to fund school building improvements and security upgrades.

Both school districts have been strongly campaigning for their respective half-cent tax measures, citing the age of their facilities and a dire need for stronger security.

Duval County half-cent sales tax

In Duval County, a half-cent sales tax on sales would rake-in nearly 1.72 billion over its 15-year life. For a median income household of four people, it amounts to about $72 a year or about $6 a month.

If passed, all that money would be put toward four things:

  1. Safety and security upgrades, which would be completed in the first three years.
  2. Fixing nearly $250 million worth of backlogged maintenance problems.
  3. Getting rid of more than 40 portable classrooms.
  4. Building new schools.

It would be overseen by a 22-member committee of citizen representatives.

Supporters say Duval County Public Schools needs to catch up with neighboring districts that have other property or sales taxes to supplement schools.

News4Jax constructed an interactive map showing where DCPS is planning to invest the tax revenue if the referendum passes. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the referendum, click here.

NEWS4JAX VOTER’S GUIDE | Duval County Amendment 2: half-cent sales tax for schools | Clay County: School sales tax

Clay County half-cent sales tax

In Clay County, a half-cent sales tax would collect more than $13.46 million a year, but this one would have a 30-year lifespan -- doubling Duval County’s.

It’s expected it would raise more than $400 million over that time, and like Duval County’s proposal, Clay County’s would all go toward building upgrades and improved security. And, despite being a third of the size of DCPS, Clay County District Schools has twice the amount of portable classrooms.

Again, a citizen advisory committee would oversee the spending, and this tax would also fund technology upgrades and land acquisition.

The district says it will need more than $600 million over the next decade to correct the litany of problems, but many opponents have told News4Jax they’re not confident in the current district leadership and that 30 years is too long an obligation to levy a tax like this.

News4Jax also put together a map that plots all the schools in the Clay County school district with planned expenditures. It also includes the average age of the buildings on each campus.

About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.