A majority of Palm Beach County voters approved a one-penny sales tax increase during Tuesday’s election, agreeing to support a tax increase dedicated to addressing critical capital needs throughout the School District of Palm Beach County – everything from replacing roofs and air conditioning units, to replacing old buses and outdated technology.
The increase will take effect in January 2017. The additional sales tax money will be collected over the next 10 years, or until revenue collections hit the $2.7 billion amount approved by voters. The School District will receive 50 percent, or approximately $1.3 billion, of the sales tax money collected; Palm Beach County will receive 30 percent, and local municipalities will receive 20 percent.
“Today is only the beginning of a ten-year conversation, a decade-long journey, about how our schools will benefit from the outpouring of community support we received on Election Day,” said Superintendent Robert Avossa. “I look forward to traveling this road with you.”
The District will receive its first share of sales tax money in the spring. Money is already budgeted for classroom technology; new buses and maintenance vehicles; roof replacement at Carver Community Middle School, K.E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary School, Lantana Community Middle School and West Riviera Elementary School; and building envelope maintenance at Carver Middle, Eagles Landing Middle School, Pahokee Elementary School and Palm Beach Lakes Community High School.
In December, the School Board will begin the process of selecting a citizen panel to oversee the District’s use of sales tax money. The School Board, District employees, parents and the community will receive quarterly updates on sales tax-funded projects.
“Moving forward, we must recognize that a percentage of our community was against the sales tax,” Dr. Avossa said. “I am committed to being transparent with taxpayer dollars and upholding the District tradition of delivering every project as promised and within budget.”
In anticipation of a successful referendum initiative, the District has also issued a Request for Proposals for construction services. These services will be in place when the first of the sales tax revenue arrives, to ensure work can begin on tax-funded projects.
To learn more about how sales tax money will benefit District-operated schools, visit www.palmbeachschools.org/referendum2016.