Clay School Board Considers Lawsuit In Push For 2019 Sales Tax Vote

Jul 11, 2019

The Clay County School Board may head to court to try and force a November special election on a sales tax to fund school improvements.

WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union reports the Clay County School Board's attorney is assessing the district’s options.

The Clay County Commission this week unanimously rejected the school board's request to put the proposed half-cent tax before voters on November 5.

State law says such resolutions "shall be placed on the ballot by the governing body of the county."

School Board member Janice Kerekes told WJCT News last month that's exactly what she expected would happen. 

"The word 'shall' means you must place it on the ballot. There’s not choice about it for our county commission. Of course, there’s no telling what they’ll decide to do but it was written into our resolution to give our school board attorney the authority to do what needs to be done."

Kerekes said the school district would cover the $180,000 cost of the special election.

A similar battle is underway in Duval County where the school board wants voters to approve a half-cent sales tax to help with almost $2 billion in needed school repairs and replacements.

The newly elected Jacksonville City Council is expected to take-up the referendum question this month, including returning member Ju'Coby Pittman.

On Thursday's First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, Pittman said November might be too soon for a referendum.

"There’s still a scope of work that needs to be done in terms of which schools are first.  The financial piece - you know - will it be in phases and how will that look," said Pittman.

The full interview with Pittman is available here

Pittman also discussed the call for donations to make up for a funding shortfall at the Clara White Mission.

She also serves as the CEO and president of the nonprofit mission, which helps feed and provide services to Jacksonville's homeless community.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.