“There are schools with leaky roofs that are getting patch jobs, there are 30-year-old air conditioners that get patch jobs. There are windows that should be replaced that just get resealed. There are sidewalks that are cracked and pipes that leak and all sorts of things at all of our schools,” Rob Spicker with Lee County Schools said.
Spicker said you won’t see these flaws unless you look closely at Lee County Schools, but they’re there. That’s why the district is asking voters to approve a sales tax.
A half-cent sales tax.
If you vote yes that means you will pay a tax of half a cent for every dollar you spend except for on food, medicine, or gas.
If you spend $60 on a new video game, you’ll pay an extra 30 cents. If you buy a new TV for $800, it’ll cost you an extra four dollars. And if you bought a new car for $24,000, there will be an extra $120 on the top.
The district estimates it will add up to about $59 million a year, maybe more if the county keeps growing.
“We’re adding 1,500 students a year, that’s the size pretty much of a high school. Those students again, required to go to school, we have to have a place for them,” Spicker said.
They said they’ll build five new schools and rebuild two old ones plus fix the air conditioning and maintenance around the district.
But not everyone is for it. Ray Rodrigues represents Estero in the Florida state house. He said in a News-Press article the district is using inflated projections and overpaying for unused properties.
Spicker said the growth and the lack of funding is real. “So it’s hard for us to maintain our schools and build new schools for that growing population when the funding this year is $200 million less than it was 10 years ago,” he said.
The proposal requires a simple majority to pass and will be in effect for the next 10 years.
By the way, if you buy something and your final price comes to half a cent, the vendor rounds up.