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School officials launch campaign to renew the half-cent sales tax

Leon County school district officials are launching a campaign to renew the half-cent sales tax. The money goes for school construction and maintenance and, as Lynn Hatter reports, the district is partnering with the Leon Chamber to justify the expense.

In the decade the half-cent sales tax has been in effect, it’s raised about 150-million dollars for public school maintenance and construction. Now the tax is about to expire, and district officials want voters to approve it for another 15 years. District Superintendent Jackie Pons says he’s relying on the local chamber of commerce to do an economic study to decide whether the half-penny is needed.

“We’re not asking for a new tax, we’re just asking for a continuation of what we have now.”  

Pons, who is up for re-election this year, says A review conducted when the tax was first passed, showed 30-percent of its revenue would come from visitors to Leon County. The half-penny referendum will go before voters on the November ballot, and comes at a time when state support for public school capital projects has dwindled.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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