Gainesville Chamber supports half-cent tax initiative for schools

Alachua County Public Schools buildings are an average of 34 years old.   File photo

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce will support the Alachua County half-cent sales tax initiative for 2018 to help fund area school infrastructure, a decision the Chamber reached based on a recent report from its own yearlong infrastructure investment initiative.  

A recently released report from the Chamber’s Putting Children First Infrastructure Investment Initiative, or i3, recommended the support of the tax. i3 is a community effort led by a steering committee of community leaders who researched infrastructure needs of Alachua area schools.

“Over the nine months, our committee members met with county and city officials and community organizations devoted to improving life in our area, with the goal of understanding our infrastructure needs and priorities,” i3 Chair and HUB Area Vice President Brian Scarborough said in a statement. “And while we discovered the need is great in many areas, our research and public feedback told us fixing our schools is the most immediate priority.”

According to Alachua County Public Schools, school buildings are an average of 34 years old and serve 27,000 students. The ACPS estimates that routine maintenance alone to roofs, HVAC systems, painting and flooring will cost $18.6 million.

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