FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Franklin District School officials are trying to find the money to pay better salaries as well as improve schools. And they hope voters will help, by passing two tax referendums on the November ballot.
One of the proposals would shift some funds, while the other would create a new tax.
Like nearly every other Florida School District, Franklin County is experiencing a teacher shortage. District leaders are proposing two referendums that they say will make a difference.
“We need these referendums to support the future of our schools and of our children and students that go to Franklin County, ” Franklin County Schools Superintendent Steve Lanier said.
The 1st referendum asks voters to renew the 2008 half-mill property tax. Some of the money from the half mill tax will be taken from, the capital outlay budget, it would shift to operating funds, for things like teacher and staff raises, salaries and benefits.
The 2nd referendum is a new half-cent sales tax.
“It does not affect gasoline, it does not affect prescription drugs and there is no tax on grocery items,” Lanier said. “If you go out to eat it’ll affect that, if you go out and purchase a pair of shoes or buy a shirt it will affect that.”
A resident making $30,000 a year, would pay around $48 more annually. A lot of the revenue would come from tourists.
“Desperately needed for projects such as building funds, we haven’t ordered a bus in Franklin County since 2015,” Lanier said. “We’re behind schedule on many of our maintenance projects that haven’t been accomplished since the school was built in 2008.”
Other items include new AC units, playground equipment, wireless communication, and more.
“We’re in a situation in Franklin County that we have never been in before,” Lanier said. “With all these projects, we have over 18 million dollars worth of projects that have not been taken care of in quite a few years and I want to make sure we fund these properly.”
The district will hold several town hall meetings to give voters a chance to ask questions. The dates and locations are below.
Sept. 22: Apalachicola
Oct. 3: Lanark
Oct. 6: Carrabelle
The half-cent sales tax would generate about $26 million over the next 20 years.