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Clay County school board approves half-cent sales tax to help repair schools

The motion passed 3-2 and will now be sent to the county commission for a vote.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla — The Clay County school district moved one step closer to securing funding for major repairs and maintenance to its schools as the school board approved a half-cent school tax resolution Thursday night. 

The motion passed 3-2 and will now be sent to the county commission for a vote.

The school board says it's in dire need of funding, needing $318 million for repairs. Soon Clay County residents could decide on the new half-cent sales tax. 

"The need is there," District 1 school board member Janice Kerekes said. "We need to be proactive. We can't keep kicking this can down the road. Like I said before, now is the time." 

"I've had my mind made up that they didn't need a sales tax," Clay County resident Tom Wallace said. 

Wallace has been against the sales tax increase for weeks, up until he attended his first board meeting. After hearing first hand from school officials and seeing dilapidated facilities, he had a change of heart. 

"They can't wait," he said. "They need to do it now." 

Not everyone shares the same sentiment. 

"I think we need to look at all of this money that's being raised and find a better way to spend it," Clay County resident Ken Willey said. 

If passed by voters, the sales tax will go into effect January 2020 and is expected to bring in $13.5 million annually for the next 30 years.