The Manatee County School Board will formally vote Tuesday on whether to put an extension of the existing half-cent sales tax out to voters in November.
The board has long talked about the need to extend the half-cent sales tax, in place since 2002, but has not formally voted on it yet. If approved, voters in the county would decide whether the sales tax would be extended an additional 15 years until 2032.
If approved, the board would also authorize creation of a citizens’ oversight committee charged with helping make sure the money is spent on the specified projects. This type of committee wasn’t included the first time around, board Chairwoman Karen Carpenter said.
“It adds that extra layer of vigilance,” Carpenter said. “I’m really excited about that.”
Annually, the sales tax levy brings in about $30 million for the Manatee County School District. A number of projects, including a new high school in Parrish, are in the works for the district. A full specified list of projects is not yet available.
The school boards move comes as the Manatee County Commission moves to put its own half-cent sales tax measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. On June 21, county commissioners will formally decide whether to ask voters for a new half-cent sales tax to pay for various county projects.
School officials have repeatedly said extending the sales tax is critical for school district funding. Carpenter said it is a logical decision to put the vote out to the community.
“It’s our job to find the resources to address the needs of the district,” she said. “I would think it would be a logical thing to support.”