Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Will St. Johns Schools Get Share of Pie? District, County Both Say They Need More Money for Projects

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Will St. Johns Schools Get Share of Pie? District, County Both Say They Need More Money for Projects

Article excerpt

Byline: Sheldon Gardner

Funding for the St. Johns County School District by a county sales tax referendum has been discussed, but it isn't clear whether the sales tax ballot language will change by June 16.

Bill Mignon, a School Board member, said the issue is expected to be discussed at Tuesday's School Board meeting.

"I believe at that time the superintendent and the board will discuss the issue and make a decision as to what our role will be in this, if any at all," said Mignon, who also said he can't speak for the board. "But at this point there hasn't been any decision made. There's a lot involved."

The issue was raised at this week's St. Johns County Commission meeting when County Administrator Michael Wanchick and others talked about the possibility of funding the school district through a sales tax.

The school district is in critical need of money for more school space, officials have said.

Wanchick said giving half of a 1-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase to the school district would not work for the county. Splitting half a penny with the School Board would not provide the county with enough money to tackle all of the projects officials would like to, and he said splitting evenly would put pressure on raising other taxes or fees.

Wanchick also said he has discussed giving $3 million to $5 million to the school district, but he said the superintendent was not interested because that would not give the school district the relief it needs.

However, Wanchick said Wednesday if Superintendent Joe Joyner has changed his mind, the county is willing to listen.

Joyner had a different view of the conversation. Joyner said Wanchick did not mention $5 million.

Joyner said he and Wanchick have had a couple of informal discussions. One came a couple of years ago when Joyner asked Wanchick about the possibility of splitting a 1-cent sales tax increase evenly. …

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