Seminole County residents vote to raise property taxes

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

Seminole County residents voted to raise property taxes.

The tax vote could pump an additional $25 million each year into the school system.

In a district that recently closed three schools and cut 700 jobs, voters have agreed to pay more taxes to help fund education.

"They really showed the community that the business community is behind Seminole County schools," said Superintendent Walt Griffin.

Griffin said the millage increase will be used for operating expenses, which could bring new technology, security and help save jobs.

"It means we'll be able to preserve the high-quality academic programs in Seminole County and be able to continue with a lot of the art and athletic programs," said Griffin.

It will be up to the school board to determine where the money goes and how much residents will pay each year.

"We have a very conservative board, and I think we're fiscally responsible and have been in the past," said school board member Dede Schaffner.

It's not the first time people in Seminole County have voted on a school tax increase.

Two years ago, they shot down a measure that would have increased sales tax.

School officials said the money couldn't come at a better time.

"It takes a burden off of our schools and it's a real positive for our kids," Schaffner said.

The board could decide to go with any amount they want up to one mil.

The increase will go into effect in July 2013.