On behalf of the Greater Pensacola Chamber, I would like to share our support for the half-cent sales tax extension related to the proposed construction of three new public schools in Escambia County, Fla.
The growth of our business community is directly linked to the success of our local school system. Since 1997, the half-cent sales tax has served as a main source of funding for the Escambia County School District and has contributed to more than 350 school improvement projects totaling $300 million. Raising nearly $20 million annually, the sales tax has led to several facility renovations, safety improvements and school additions, including the construction of the new Blue Angel Elementary School, A.K. Suter Elementary School and Ernest Ward Middle School.
Navy Federal’s growth corridor near Nine Mile Road has resulted in climbing school enrollment, and the County’s Westside schools continue to deal with overcrowding issues, as well as dependence on portable classrooms. It is our belief that none of these problems are likely to be alleviated without another 10 years of local option sales tax funding.
Education plays a major role in helping to develop and grow economic prosperity, and we must ensure that our community has the resources it needs to succeed. The Chamber urges local residents to reinvest in our school system by voting for the extension of the half-cent sales tax. Not only will this tax renewal support the needs of our community for the next 10 to 15 years, but will also pave the way for future generations to come.
Chair, Greater Pensacola Chamber Board of Directors