Citizen Oversight Committee
Following through on its commitment to accountability, the Duval County School Board has formed a Citizen Oversight Committee to monitor the district’s spending of the new half-penny sales surtax.
The surtax, which went into effect at the start of this year, was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November. In crafting the approved referendum, the board committed to public oversight to ensure revenue collected is spent as promised.
“The 67 percent approval rate for the referendum was an amazing vote of confidence and demonstration of trust in the school board,” said current school board Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen. “As a board, we want to do everything we can to continue building that trust. I am thankful to those serving on this oversight committee and for the role they will play as we enter this building program on behalf of our students, staff, and community.”
That new revenue for the district is fully allocated to implement the district’s $1.9 billion master facilities plan, which the school board approved in 2019 following a series of community meetings and online public engagement.
The facilities plan will address a large backlog of maintenance that was deferred following state budget cuts going back to 2009 and 2010. The plan will also improve the operational efficiency of the district, address safety and security at all schools, and reduce the use of portable classrooms in growing areas.
The committee includes representatives of a number of community organizations and an appointee from each of the seven school board members. The membership of the committee is set in school board policy 9.66.
Their role is to monitor how the revenue from the surtax is spent and to help keep the public informed on the progress and implementation of the sales surtax plan as set forth in the school board’s resolution leading to the referendum.
The committee appointees are:
To serve, members must certify that they have no conflict of interest or any financial interest in the projects and initiatives funded through the new surtax. The surtax will expire after 15 years unless voters renew the funding at that time. Early design work on initial projects has already begun, and the district expects to see the first revenue arrive in two to three months.