A misspelled word in the Manatee County School District’s half-cent sales tax referendum during the upcoming election has no legal implications, according to the supervisor of elections.
“It’s a scrivener’s error,” said Mike Bennett, supervisor of election. “It really doesn’t change the meaning of anything, we just missed it.”
On Nov. 8, voters in Manatee County will decide whether to extend an existing half-cent sales tax to benefit capital expenditures in the school district. The district’s request is the last item on the ballot.
In the referendum language, the word capital is spelled “captial.”
When it was brought to Bennett’s attention, he and his staff double checked with the county attorney to make sure the misspelling wouldn’t pose any legal issues.
“It doesn’t change the meaning; it’s insignificant,” Bennett said.
It’s unclear where and how the error originated. In school district documents laying out the referendum language, the word is spelled correctly. The referendum, approved by the school board in early June, also had to be approved by the board of county commissioners before heading to Bennett’s office to appear on the ballot.
The half-cent sales tax for the school district was first passed in 2002. Instead of paying 6 percent sales tax in Manatee County, shoppers pay 6.5 percent. The half-cent goes toward the school district. Annually, the tax brings in about $30 million for the district and is considered a critical source of income by district officials.
The district plans to use the half-cent sales tax, along with reinstated impact fees, to help handle the continued growth. A new high school and elementary school are some of the immediate plans and more middle schools are planned longer term.
Impact fees can only be used for projects that are directly tied to helping mitigate the effects of new growth.
The half-cent sales tax can also be used to help renovate existing schools and improve security and technology at all the schools.