Brevard voters reject tax increase; could lose schools



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Brevard voters rejected a proposed tax increase and that could cost them some schools, district officials said Friday.

Jackie Ramsey said that when she learned her granddaughter's Brevard County elementary school might close next school year she was devastated.

"We're not happy about this situation at all," said Ramsey.

It's a sentiment that is likely be shared by hundreds of other parents and grandparents in Brevard County.

"To learn she might not go to school here is kind of upsetting," said Christy Kopp, Ramsey's daughter, and the mother of an elementary school student.

WFTV learned on Friday afternoon that the Brevard County Schools superintendent has recommended closing four schools: Sea Park Elementary in Satellite Beach, Gardendale Elementary on Merritt Island, South Lake Elementary in Titusville and Clearlake Middle School in Cocoa.

"This is never easy.  I've never heard of a school closure that's easy," said school district representative Michelle Irwin.

But school officials said it is necessary after Tuesday's election.

Brevard voters rejected a half-cent sales tax increase that would have brought in more than $30 million for the cash-strapped district.

District leaders said it is difficult to pay for improvements at the county's 85 schools and almost impossible to buy new buses.

They said that the closures won't be the end to the cut backs.

"Let me put it this way, this is one of several cuts that will be coming down the road," said Irwin.

District officials said layoffs are likely.

 The four schools that were listed as possible schools to close were chosen based on infrastructure needs, officials said.

The public will have the chance to sound off at a meeting next month.

Final action on the closures will be taken in January.