Volusia School Board considers sales tax wish list

Volusia School Board considers sales tax wish list
By Linda Trimble
Published: Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 9:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 10:29 p.m.
DELAND — Voters will get a first look this week at what they would get from an extension of Volusia schools’ half-cent sales tax if they agree in November to continue paying the tax for 15 extra years.
Recommended Projects
Here’s a rundown for the proposed school sales tax:
Security: $45 million
Technology: $135 million
Replacement schools: $111 million (Pierson, Chisholm, George Marks and Tomoka elementaries; Deltona Middle)
Middle school science labs: $8 million
High school athletics: $15 million (Track resurfacing/replacement & athletic fields)
Renovations: $100 million
Contingency/inflation: $66 million
Total: $480 million
Source: Volusia County schools
The project list — which the Volusia County School Board will be asked to approve Tuesday — includes annual investments in security and technology; replacements for five schools and renovations at many others; upgraded middle school science labs; and updated high school athletic facilities.
The projected price tag is $414 million, leaving $66 million for inflation and contingencies, from the $480 million the tax would be expected to raise.
Voters will be asked to approve the sales tax extension Nov. 4, but collections wouldn’t start until January 2017 after the current half-cent sales tax for school construction — which voters approved in 2001 — expires.
A citizens’ committee that spent the past four months developing the recommended project list for the School Board insisted the estimated budget be adjusted to include inflation and a contingency fund. School district staff had recommended a longer project list that would have required the School Board to find $73 million from other funding sources to complete everything without anything set aside for unexpected cost increases.
“I think it was definitely the right thing to do to plan for contingencies, inflation and growth,” said Bob Ludlow, a bank vice president who served on the committee. “It makes this revenue neutral, which I think is the best thing we can do if we’re going to extend the sales tax.
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