‘Your tax dollars at work’: New school made possible by half cent sales tax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Construction is underway for a new elementary school in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood. It’s made possible through the half cent sales tax, approved by voters in 2020.


Rutledge Pearson Elementary is expected to open in August 2023. It will welcome 906 students into the 100,000 square foot space.

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“It’s something that we needed in the neighborhood and in the community,” Bridgett Walton said “I think it’s gonna be really nice.”

Walton lives across the street from the construction site. She remembers when the older facility sat at that very spot.

Action News Jax got to the tour the new building. It’s at its halfway point construction-wise. This is part of a 15-year plan to replace 26 schools and build two brand new schools.

“It will really be a modern school facility, probably most modern we’ll have in Duval County,” Paul Soares said. He’s the Assistant Superintendent of Operations for the district. He adds the school can be used as a hurricane shelter in case of emergency.

Some other smaller projects have also been funded by the half cent sales tax

  • A new glass barrier was installed, allowing the front office to better vet visitors at Terry Parker High School.
  • A new wall and entry door were installed to make the entryway more secure at Arlington Middle School.
  • Yellow bollards were added for safety purposes at Arlington Heights Elementary.

Some future projects on the agenda include:

  • Ribault High School getting a brand-new facility. It is expected to be complete in August of 2025.
  • The brand-new Chaffee Trail Middle School is expected to open in August of 2024.
  • Highlands Elementary School will get a new facility. It is expected to be complete in August of 2024.

More details on projects can be found here.

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