• State, school leaders rally for aging schools sales tax for Duval County

    By: Brittney Donovan , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Story published 6/25/19:

    Community members joined state and school leaders Monday at City Hall to urge city council to consider putting the half cent sales tax referendum on the November 2019 ballot.

    GALLERY: 'See the problem': DCPS post photos of aging schools around Jacksonville 

    “I was frankly appalled at some of the pictures and what I’ve seen,” Kathleen Kane said.

    The former teacher was talking about photos taken inside a Jacksonville elementary school.

    Wooden beams were put in place to stop the ceiling from falling into the classroom.

    “I just find that very disturbing, that children in this community are expected to go to school in that type of a situation,” Kane said.

    She is now a program director for the League of Women Voters. She was among community members who urged city council to let voters decide on the half cent sales tax increase in a November 2019 special election.

    The referendum is not on the agenda for Tuesday’s city council meeting. That's despite a UNF poll that found 75 percent of registered voters support the measure.

    Mayor Lenny Curry is among city leaders who believe the referendum should be delayed to 2020, citing the cost of a special election.

    The supervisor of elections tells Action News Jax it would cost between $750,000 and $1.2 million for a November 2019 special election.

    “It would round down to $1.55 per person in a 4-person household, and so that’s the way that number looks, are our children worth $1.55?” Rep. Tracie Davis said.

    Action News Jax asked the school board chair what it would mean for the district and the children who go to school here if the vote is delayed to 2020.

    “If we delay another year, we will spend $6 million in repairs that really will not solve the issue. They will really be a band aid approach,” chairwoman Lori Hershey said.

    The elections office would need at least 120 days to prepare.

    Councilman Garrett Dennis said the bill can be put back on the Tuesday agenda by the council president, or by a vote of 2/3 of council members.

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