HALF-CENT SALES TAX: List of ‘school needs’ in Okaloosa County has been released

Since the announcement of the half-cent sales tax for schools, much anticipation has been around the "school needs" list. Now, it has been released.

The Okaloosa County School Board adopted a Resolution on March 30, 2020 that called for a special referendum election to consider a one-half percent (0.5%) sales surtax for a period of ten (10) years beginning on January 1, 2021.

The goal of the half-cent sales tax is to fund the acquisition of land, construct and improve school facilities, acquire equipment including technology, and to service bond debt.

According to the School Cents Makes Cents campaign, the revenue from the half-cent sales tax would be used “solely to finance a comprehensive plan to improve safety and modernize facilities. Specifically, the funds will be used on construction, maintenance and repairs to schools, safety improvements (such as creating a single point of entry, perimeter security and cameras), replacing old buses, and technology.”

Okaloosa School Board member Dr. Diane Kelley explains what she witnessed when visiting a school recently. The secretary was shielding her computer from a rain/water leak in the ceiling by using an upside down umbrella to catch the water.

This is not the same half-cent sales tax recently passed in Okaloosa County. In November 2018, the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners (not the School District) sought a half-cent sales tax to be used for county infrastructure, but that was not for schools.

This tax on the 2020 ballot will benefit only schools.

Since the announcement of the half-cent sales tax for schools, much anticipation has been around the “school needs” list.

All schools across the district have been working on a “needs list” and it has now been released.

Edwins Elementary School Tour – “Does it smell moldy?”

On January 14th we toured Edwins Elementary School with Michelle Anchors and School Principal Mrs. Morris. The school was established in 1955. From leaky ceilings, to broken air conditioning (and lack of heat in some areas), the school tries their very best to make the a fun learning environment for students. Here’s what we saw.

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