Vote YES to Continue the Penny Tax

Guest Correspondence

Graphic courtesy Pixabay.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County believes that an investment in education is the best investment we can make to keep our community thriving. 

That is why we support renewing Sarasota County’s One-Cent Sales Tax Referendum, Surtax IV. 

Sometimes called the “penny tax,” the nonpartisan referendum has been in place since 1989. This year’s ballot gives county citizens the opportunity to vote to continue receiving the essential funding that is generated by this critical referendum. 

The revenue generated by the one-cent sales tax funds important public safety, community and environmental projects—and education. In fact, fully one-quarter of the revenue is dedicated to supporting Sarasota County Schools. 

The district has been able to create safer and more innovative and inviting campuses and classrooms that better meet the learning needs of today’s students and teachers. 

Some specific examples of how the district has used the revenue include badly needed renovations and upgrades of Booker High School, Venice Middle School and Fruitville Elementary School. 

Alongside major improvements at specific schools, funding of districtwide maintenance and infrastructure updates that prioritize student safety and innovative instructional technology is an even more paramount need in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the pandemic’s lingering effects on student learning and increasing concerns about student safety and wellbeing.

It is heartening to note the penny referendum enjoys widespread support from various community groups. Law enforcement and first responder organizations have endorsed renewing the referendum, and economic leaders credit it as a major reason Sarasota County consistently is ranked one of the country’s best places to live and retire.

In addition, the fact that over 20% of the funds are paid for by tourists and visitors certainly contributes to the broad community support for the penny tax.

Our citizens also like the built-in accountability with a Citizen Tax Oversight Committee monitoring how funds are being allocated and thus helping to protect our tax dollars. 

You can help ensure that students from across Sarasota County can access new technology and learn in safer environments and improved infrastructure. 

When you mail in your ballot or head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8, we respectfully ask that you consider the overwhelmingly positive impacts that we, as a community--and specifically our schools--realize from the one-cent sales tax referendum. 

Please vote YES on County Question 1 to renew the penny tax. 

Learn more about this important referendum at pennyforimprovements.com.

Jennifer Vigne is president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

Graphic courtesy Pixabay.

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