Early voting has begun on a referendum to renew a one-mill property tax for Sarasota County homeowners, which is used to supplement the Sarasota County School Board budget.
The tax is up for renewal every four years. It was originally passed in 2002 after being rejected by voters in 2000. If approved, this year would mark the third time the tax has been continued.
District officials predict that the tax will bring in between $40 million and $50 million a year.
Critics of the tax claim it is used to avoid cutting teachers' salaries — Sarasota County teachers, with an average salary of $54,576 annually, are the second highest paid in the state behind Miami-Dade County teachers.
Proponents of the tax say it is essential to maintain Sarasota County’s high standard of education, as well as art and music programs that could be in jeopardy without the supplementary revenue.
Early voting information:
March 10 until March 22,from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
- Sarasota County Terrace Building: 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota.
- Biscayne Plaza: 13640 Tamiami Trail, North Port.
- Robert L. Anderson Administration Center: 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice.
- Longboat Key Town Hall: 501 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key.
Additional information about registration, early voting and voting by mail is available at www.SarasotaVotes.com.
The general vote will be Tuesday, March 25. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents with questions can call the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections: 861-8600.
Contact Nolan Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org