Every Half Cent Helps

It's been just over one year since Leon County voters approved a half-cent sales tax to help fund education. Now, residents are beginning to see their contribution paying off.

Fort Braden is one of the oldest schools in the district, dating back to 1847. It’s also one of the first in line for upgrades with the half a penny sales tax. By tossing a shovel full of dirt, students, leaders and school officials are breaking ground and laying the foundation to a new start at Fort Braden School.

Thanks to the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2002, Fort Braden School is getting something it's never had before, a gym.

"Real special, don't have to travel to Godby anymore to play volleyball, when can call this home," says Sarah Gordon, a 7th Grader at Fort Braden.

Over the next 10 years, the half a penny sales tax will generate $196 million to Leon County schools, taking care of the district's brick and mortar needs for the next 15 years.

"Knowing the community supports education not just about Fort Braden but the entire district," says Paul Green, principal of Fort Braden School.

While it's easy to see the tax dollars in action at Fort Braden, how can voters be sure the money raised will be spent wisely?

"We made a commitment to our community before voting listed school by school site by site what would be spent," says Bill Montford.

The half-cent sales tax generated more than $3 million for the capitol outlay needs at Fort Braden. Besides a new gym, the project also included building seven new classrooms. The half-cent sales tax is just for school construction. It was passed to help fund the capitol outlay needs in schools and can only be used for brick and mortar.