Sarasota County Schools News

Voters have the chance to renew school referendum funding in March

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Referendum Card

SARASOTA, Dec. 1, 2017 – In March, Sarasota County voters will have the opportunity to renew the 1-mill referendum funding for local public schools. The measure has been approved by voters four times, every four years since 2002, most recently in 2014 by 76.9 percent of participating voters. One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 dollars of the taxable assessed value of a home. Because the 1 mill is already in place, renewing the funding would not be a tax increase.

Sarasota County is one of only two of the state’s 67 school districts to receive an A from the Florida Department of Education every year since grading began in 2004. Referendum funds stay in Sarasota County to help local schools. The 1 mill will yield about $56 million in Fiscal Year 2018 — roughly 13 percent of the school district’s operating budget. An independent Financial Advisory Committee reviews referendum spending and reports their findings and recommendations to the School Board.

  • Click here for basic referendum information.
  • Click here for detailed school-by-school information about how referendum dollars are spent.

The voter-approved dollars allow the district to:

  • Continue to attract and keep outstanding teachers
  • Keep the added 30 minutes of instruction per school day, equal to 18 extra days of instruction a year
  • Continue to commit resources to close the achievement gap
  • Preserve art, music and drama classes
  • Continue to enhance safety and security at schools

There are several ways to vote in the school referendum. Most Sarasota County residents who will be age 18 or older on or before the date of the special election on Tuesday, March 20, and who register to vote by Tuesday, Feb. 20 (if not already registered) may vote in this election. 

For information about online registration (new in Florida as of Oct. 1), voting by mail and early voting at three sites March 10-17 at election offices in Sarasota, Venice and North Port, polling places on election day, Tuesday, March 20, and any other information about voting, visit or call 941-861-8619

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