Charlotte County schools consider tax hike

Credit: WINK News

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Charlotte County Public Schools are considering a referendum that would raise taxes to offset a drop in state funding.

The district is seeking an extra $8-9 million. District Spokesman Mike Riley cites decreasing enrollment figures that have reduced the amount of money the schools are receiving from the state.

“That’s like $22.5 million that you don’t have to still run the same facilities and everything,” Riley said.

Schools like Port Charlotte High, Lemon Bay High and L.A. Ainger Middle School are facing significant enrollment and funding declines.

Multiple factors contribute to overall decline. Losing students to neighboring Sarasota County is one, but Riley feels the more significant factor is the age within Charlotte County.

Riley suggested the county’s marketing strategy to attract retirees is partly to blame.

“People are moving into Charlotte County but they’re young retirees and they don’t have children,” Riley said. “So we’re looking at needing young families to come here.”

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