On Nov. 6, the voters of Polk County stood at a crossroads: Continue the half-cent sales tax that since 2003 has infused more than $560 million into our schools, or let the tax expire, eliminating a crucial source of capital funding.
Today, we all know the outcome of that decision. Thanks to you the voters, the tax commonly known as Polk Promise will continue through 2034, raising a projected $675 million for new schools, school expansions, security and technology upgrades, and a slew of other infrastructure projects.
On behalf of the more than 300,000 Polk County Public Schools stakeholders — including current students and their parents, and school district employees — as well future students who will benefit from Polk Promise, I extend to you my most heartfelt thanks.
When you voted, you agreed to continue paying a half penny more on your taxable purchases — but your vote in favor of Polk Promise was also so much more.
You chose to prioritize public education, to invest in our children and in the future of our community all because you recognize both the financial need and the importance of our public schools.
You took a stand, and by filling in “for the one-half cent sales tax” oval, you said, “Public education matters in Polk County today, tomorrow, and for many years to come.”
During the last year, a dedicated contingent of volunteers advocated on behalf of the Polk Promise renewal. They gave their time, energy and effort to the task of spreading an important message: the half-cent sales tax for education is absolutely essential to the future of our children, our school district and indeed our community.
I thank each one of those volunteers for their hard work, and I thank you for listening — and voting.
This was more than a sales tax referendum. This was a referendum on who we are as a community.
At Polk County Public Schools, our motto is “Students First.” With the renewal of the Polk Promise sales tax, Polk County as a whole has demonstrated they put students first, too. What an honor and a privilege it is to serve Polk County.