County commission approves putting school board millage on ballot

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 4/27/22

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Clay County School Board millage rate continuation will face voters after county commissioners unanimously approved moving the item to the general election ballot.

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County commission approves putting school board millage on ballot

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Clay County School Board millage rate continuation will face voters after county commissioners unanimously approved moving the item to the general election ballot.

The 1 mill ad valorem millage tax was approved by voters in 2018. As it will expire in 2023, school board members pushed for a continuation of the tax at a previous meeting.

School Board Chairwoman Mary Bolla said the increase, and its potential continuation, it is meant for school safety and security. With the Marjory Stone Douglas Act in 2018, districts around the state were required to have an armed school resource officer or armed guardian when schools are in session as well as improve school infrastructure, she said.

“Here again, we are going back to the community, to the parents, for the security and safety of our children,” she said. “We are asking for a continuation of this mill, not an additional mill on top of it.”

She added that the Clay County District School Police Department is the most fiscally responsible option to comply with state law. Bolla also cited recent security enhancements to schools such as school entry, fencing, cameras, front office security and PA system, radio and lighting upgrades.

“With this particular request, we’ll also be adding charter schools, which is part of a legislative requirement that our charter schools will get approximately 4% of the amount that’s taken for their safety and security initiatives as well,” Bolla said.

Commissioner Jim Renninger said there have been difficult discussions over the past three years.

“If this is the best solution, then this is the best solution,” Renninger said. “Safety is imperative in our schools and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to look at best practices and options available and I’m satisfied with the school board’s decision.”

Commissioner Betsy Condon said the county’s function with the school board’s millage rate continuation was administerial and the county was forwarding it to the ballot. The continuation’s ballot placement was approved unanimously.

The general election is Nov. 8.

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