If you have any questions, we would love to answer them for you. Contact us if you cannot find the answers in our FAQ below.
Shall the school board of Columbia County levy a one-half percent (0.5%) sales surtax for a period of twenty (20) years for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, renovation, remodeling, or improvement of school facilities, including safety and security improvements, and the purchase of technology equipment, including hardware and software. The revenues collected shall be shared with eligible charter schools based on their proportionate share of total school district enrollment.
[ ] - For the half-cent tax
[ ] - Against the half-cent tax
Some of our schools are very old and in need of renovation, repair, or replacement. Operating fewer, larger schools is more cost-efficient, and newer schools have fewer maintenance issues. It would be the same with homes. Maintenance of two larger, new houses would cost less than maintaining four smaller, old houses. Furthermore, studies tie higher increased achievement to modern, safe and efﬁcient facilities, using today’s technology.
The half-penny sales tax will raise about $6.2 million a year and be in effect for 20 years. Voters would then decide whether to end the tax or renew it.
Four smaller, older schools (Melrose Park, Eastside, Five Points and Niblack elementary schools) will be replaced by two larger schools. These four schools cannot be retroﬁtted with today’s technology. All schools will beneﬁt with facility improvements, such as additional parking, new wings, multipurpose buildings, plus renovating ofﬁces, locker rooms and auditoriums. For a complete list of projected school improvements, click here.
Think of it as costing a dime on a $20 purchase. A half-penny sales tax will cost a family of four with a median income of $56,000 less than $6 a month.
A half-penny sales tax spreads the burden to everyone, and an estimated 23% will be paid by visitors, lessening the burden on local property owners and residents. It’s a small contribution for the individual with a huge impact on schools.
A Citizen's Oversight Committee will review the expenditures and report to the public annually. The district is subject to multiple audits each year.
An abundance of research documents show that enhanced technology and safe, attractive buildings improve student learning. Modern school design facilitates project-based learning, problem-solving and movement. Natural lighting, clean air and proper air conditioning and ventilation all have an impact on student learning. Students are proud of their facilities and feel safe inside. The upgraded schools also help attract and retain high-quality teachers, which is the number one factor next to parents for a successful education.
When four old schools are consolidated into two new schools, the operation and maintenance costs are reduced. New schools improve neighborhood integrity and increase property values. A high-quality education produces a more capable workforce, which improves the quality of life for everyone. New schools are also used as hurricane shelters and meeting spaces for the entire community.
There’s never a good time to ask voters for a tax increase, but now is the best time for students, taxpayers, and the community. Experienced facility planners looked deeply into current and projected needs over the next 20 years and by passing the tax now, the district has the option of securing bonds for immediate needs and planning the future with a known income source. Further delays continue the inefficiency of maintaining out-dated schools and failing to make necessary repairs and renovations.
The state reduced its contribution to capital improvements during the recession in 2008 and never restored it, resulting in a huge backlog of facility needs. In addition, Columbia County has some of the oldest schools in the state. Many other districts have already passed a similar tax.
Lottery dollars cannot be used on school building maintenance or construction. The state mandates where it goes, mostly to Bright Futures scholarships and higher education.
Operational dollars mostly pay for salaries and benefits, along with day-to-day expenses, like utilities and textbooks. Capital dollars may only be used for facility improvements, such as repairs, renovations, new schools, technology and safety enhancements. The half-penny sales tax can only be used for capital improvements.
Absolutely not. By law, money from this initiative can only be spent on facility upgrades.
Your funds will be used to directly educate and inform the voters of Columbia County on the importance of passing the half cent sales tax referendum.
Would you would like to receive information by email?
Find information on where to vote by filling out your name and date of birth.
Made with ❤️ by Designed To Click
Paid political advertisement, paid for by Funding Our Future, PAC