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Voters approve half cent sales tax referendum for schools

November 6, 2018
Lehigh Acres Citizen


The voters of Lee County agreed on Tuesday to pay a half cent more in sales tax to fund school infrastructure.

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A total of 138,529 (51.51 percent) voted "yes" for the surtax to be spent on capital projects such as new school construction, campus improvements, equipment and technology and school safety upgrades. A total of 130,417 (48.49 percent) voted against the sales tax referendum.

School district officials said they are thankful the measure passed as the money is sorely needed.

"I think we have a great deal of gratitude for the many individuals that have taken the time to really support our efforts," said School District of Lee County Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins.

The half-cent sales surtax will "fund the construction of new schools, reconstruction and renovation of existing schools, acquisition of equipment, including safety and security equipment and technology for a 10-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2019."

The surtax, which is estimated to raise $59 million per year over the course of the next 10 years, will fund, among other projects, two new elementary and middle schools, one new high school, rebuild an elementary and middle school, provide camera systems for schools, provide hearing-impaired lockdown lights, fire alarm systems, and HVAC.

Adkins said with the voters voting in favor, the district can deliver on its construction needs with building what they need in the next five to 10 years.

"We are still looking at significant growth," he said of the additional 1,500 students since October. "We need classroom space. We need to continue with our construction plans."

The half-cent tax will also provide the district with the opportunity to finish security upgrades that it hopes to accomplish in the next few months to years.

He said there has been an outpouring of support from the community for the students.

"With that we are eternally grateful," Adkins said.

School Board Chairman Cathleen O'Daniel Morgan said they are incredibly grateful to the people in the community who listened to learn, and listened to educate themselves, about the issue. She said they actively got behind the school district because they appreciate the education provided to the county's students.



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