Lee County school board wants new sales tax

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Your money is needed  to pay for the construction of new schools in Lee County.
WINK News learned new information about a plan to charge you a new half-cent sales tax.

“It is time to pony up and make a final decision on what we are going to do,” said school board member Jeanne Dozier.

The Lee County School Board agreed and they want a new half-cent sales tax to bring in more money to the district.

“Years ago we went down that road where we neglected the maintenance of our buildings,” said Dozier. “We have an obligation to have safe, secure, good functioning buildings for our children.”

The district plans to build a new high school in Bonita Springs by the 2019 school year. The board wants Lee County voters to vote on the new sales tax at the November 2015 special election and if passed, it could bring in nearly $50 million in 2016.

“This is essential for us if we are going to provide the educational facilities parents expect and the businesses expects and the community expects,” said board member Cathleen Morgan.

The money would only pay for new technology, school improvements, security infrastructure, new school construction and paying off debt.

“The fact of the matter is I think the public is far more aware of the desperate nature of our capital funding situation now,” said Morgan.

Board member Steven Teuber feels right now, voters may not pass a new tax.

“They just don’t trust us. And I don’t mean us as far as education system or Lee County school system, as politicians,” said Teuber.

The board also wants to create a campaign committee and an oversight committee to make sure they spend the sales tax money properly.

If this is on the November special election ballot, it could cost the Lee County School District nearly $1 million.

The board also only wants the new tax to be in effect for about five years.

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