Pittsylvania Co, VA – Shopping could cost more if a 1% sales tax increase passes, but it could fund a school system that’s crumbling.
“To actually renovate the schools with the needs that we have it costs a good bit of money,” said Dr. Mark Jones, Pittsylvania County school superintendent.
Millions of dollars of capital improvement projects, but not enough money to do them in Pittsylvania County Schools.
“I’ve heard parents say they sent their child somewhere else because the schools were old-looking,” said Mike Hutson, director of maintenance and facilities.
Take the trailers at Kentuck Elementary from the 1960s that show their age. In the Capital Improvement Plan, the goal is to replace them with a new wing and more parking.
“Our maintenance and custodial staff have done an amazing job but it’s just we’re dealing with older things that do break, that do fall apart, that do need repair. So this influx of money would be able to fix that and address that,” said Christie Dawson, the Kentuck Elementary Principal.
“Capital projects have pretty much been done with year ends funds. If you save some money here or there then the county’s been letting us take that money for maintenance projects,” said Hutson, who added that’s only about $400,000 a year. “The 1% sales tax would do a lot of these needed additions and renovations to buildings that have been on the list for about 15 years to get some of these done.”
If the referendum passes in November, it would mean paying an extra 1% for the sales tax but it would generate $3.3 million a year.
“We put off a lot of needs each year because of the cost. At some point in time, they’re going to come due. This is a way to actually clip those off at a pretty good pace,” said Jones, who has been piecing together money to get projects done. “This is a way we can get the funds through a means that’s different than a real estate tax and something we can all contribute to.”
“Services cost money, education costs money,” said Dawson. “A 1% sales tax is a small price to pay when you look at the investment you’re making in the lives of our future, the lives of our children.”
The superintendent says if the referendum doesn’t pass in November, they will continue to look at end-of-year savings to pay for the schools.