Half-Cent Sales Tax Dollars at Work in Bay County Schools - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Half-Cent Sales Tax Dollars at Work in Bay County Schools

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Dr. John Haley, the Executive Director of Operational Support Services Dr. John Haley, the Executive Director of Operational Support Services
Bay High School Bay High School
Jinks Middle School Jinks Middle School

News 13 took a closer look at the progress of nearly a hundred proposed capital projects throughout Bay County's Schools. Bay District Schools produced a five year facilities plan detailing the needed improvements in 2010. 

District leaders said the half-cent sales tax makes a lot of these projects possible. Bay County voters approved the tax in 2010 for a ten year period. It's expected to bring in about $13 Million each year, which funds construction and technology.

The District also collects Local Capital Improvement millage within property taxes, which funds construction projects. However, Dr. John Haley, the Executive Director of Operational Support Services, said LCI dollars alone are not enough for the district to survive on.

"We would be in a very, very bad situation if we did not have the half cent sales tax."

Dozens of projects sit on the district's Capital Priority List. That's multiple buildings, roofs, and other issues in the schools needing improvement.

"We have to go in and identify the needs of each one of our facilities and what we do is sit down and rank those needs of our facilities."

Projects are placed on a list based on urgency, safety, and cost benefit, among several things. The School Board approved a list of 91 projects in 2010, but it can be adjusted depending on circumstances.

To date, about 14 projects are complete, including a recent building renovation at Bay High School and cafeteria at Jinks Middle School. Each project costs tens of thousands of dollars, if not in the millions.

Currently, ten projects are in process, and at least five are funded by the half-cent sales tax.

"We've got a lot of things going on with half-cent sales tax dollars. The citizens of Bay County will be very, very pleased."

The previous tax approved in 1998 provided more than $130 Million in improvements in 27 of Bay County's School.

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