UPDATE: School support tax up for vote in Sarasota County

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:33 am

**UPDATE** With all precincts reporting, 76% have voted in favor of renewing the school district tax.

Full results of all regional elections in Sarasota county on Tuesday can be found on the Supervisor of Elections website.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - Sarasota County voters will decide today whether or not a school support tax will be renewed once again.

Polls opened at 7am and will close at 7pm.

Voters trickled in Tuesday morning to cast their ballot on the referendum. If approved, the tax will cost property owners $1 for every $1,000 worth of taxable property.

Voters first approved the measure in 2002. If approved again today, the school district projects to generate roughly $45 million on average every year for the next four years.

Some critics though say the district wastes plenty of money. They point to extravagant new schools and even this election itself; it cost more than $400,000 to hold a special election most don't show up for.

Both sides are giving one last push.

"If you want higher property values, if you care about having an educated population, if you care about having a place businesses want to come to, it is critical to have excellent schools," says Dan Deleo of Citizens for Better Schools.

"The wealth in Sarasota County is generally higher than in other counties. That does tend to lead to better students. It doesn't have to do with necessarily with what the school is doing. It has to do with what the parents are doing," says Walt Augustinowicz of Better Sarasota School for Less.

Now, as far as waste goes, an independent study by a national firm of the school district back in 2012 said Sarasota County was one of the best run districts they had ever reviewed. They did however offer millions in potential cuts.

The school district took some of that advice, but said much of it would have drastically impacted education.

School Superintendent Lori White appeared on ABC 7 News at Noon to discuss the benefits of the funding:


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