Brevard school officials hope voters see value of proposed tax increase



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Brevard County school board members want to raise taxes to prevent drastic cuts to the school system.

Earlier this year the district was forced to close three schools when voters rejected a one-half cent sales tax increase.

"I will generally vote for taxes that will support the schools. I don't think that they're funded well enough," said Brevard County resident Cecilia Pederson.

School district officials hope more people feel the same way.

Board members will vote on a plan to raise the sales tax by one-half cent, but taxpayers will have to approve the plan before it passes.

"We've been in a position where we've been deferring a lot of our repairs and our facilities upgrades, and we are at a critical point where we cannot continue to do that," said Michelle Irwin with Brevard County Schools.

Last year voters turned down a one-half cent sales tax increase. District officials said because of that, they had to close three schools and the district lost millions of dollars.

"We impacted people's jobs, we cut programs," said Irwin.

District officials said if the tax increase doesn't pass residents will see similar cuts in the future.

"If we do not pass this next referendum, we are going to be looking at making serious cuts to programs and to the school buildings themselves," said Irwin.

If the school board passes the referendum the public will vote on the half-cent tax increase during the general election in November of next year.