Opinions differ on Charlotte County school tax

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A new school tax is headed to the November ballot, and Charlotte County schools are asking for your vote.

It proposes raising property taxes for four years to raise money for schools, but the votes may be challenging to get.

“I’m totally against it,” said Ken Kuriger, who is against school tax. “They get a whole big swap of the assessment in the county now.”

Others, like Roger Sasseville said he thinks the tax should exempt retirees.

“I think they should tax the people that have their kids going to school and leave us retirees alone,” Roger said.

The referendum calls for a $1 tax per every thousand dollars of your home’s value. The tax could cost homeowners hundreds of dollars more in property taxes each year, which some say they can’t afford.

“When you’re on a fixed income you’re already living on the edge,” said Mary Ellen Sasseville, who is against the school tax. “You’re basically month to month and strictly budgeted so we don’t really need anymore taxes.”

The district said every dollar is crucial as the face declining enrollment, which means less money from the state.

The district added the money raised will pay for additional school security, teacher pay raises and recruitment, as well as fund more music, art and career programs.

“It’s important that we have our students protected, also well educated,” said like Dugal Isaacs.

Isaacs said it’s worth the added cost.

“These are the people that are basically teaching our kids of tomorrow who are going to be doctors and lawyers and so on,” Isaacs said. “So, I believe it’s important that they do have raises.”

Southwest Florida resident Debra Johnson had similar opinions on the topic.

“I would vote for it, yeah. Our kids need it. They deserve it,” Johnson said. “Our teachers aren’t paid enough. We need quality teachers, we need quality programs.”

It will soon be up to the voters to decide.

If passed, the tax would raise approximately $17 million for Charlotte County schools.

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