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Renewal of income tax for Sebring schools passes by only three votes

SEBRING — Sebring school district residents narrowly approved an income tax renewal Tuesday.

Residents approved the 1 percent earned income tax renewal by three votes, with 196 voting for it and 193 voting against it, according to complete but unofficial results.

The tax generates approximately $500,000 annually. It only collects on earned income and does not include Social Security benefits, pension, interest, capital gains, rental income, annuities, unemployment, income from estates or incorporated businesses.

Prior to the election, Superintendent Toni Viscounte said the tax allows the district to maintain class sizes at an average of 18 students; provide social-emotional learning and STEM programs; purchase books, technology (Chromebooks), and other learning materials and supplies; fund activities such as Sebring Strong/PBIS, academic clubs, and athletics; and pay for student transportation, field trips and extra-curricular trips.

Viscounte said with the money, the district will provide ongoing maintenance and repair in buildings and structures including BL lift station and sewer repairs; stadium repairs/renovation; junior/senior high locker room renovation; construction of a pole barn/garage to store equipment that is currently being stored outside (keep it out of the weather and potential vandalism); interior painting that has not been done in years; replacement of ceiling tile in many areas due to roofing leaks; roof leak repairs and replacements; replacement of heavily soiled carpeting and flooring tiles; maintain gym floors, resurface parking lots; maintain athletic fields (football field is rutted in many areas); replacement of exterior doors that are rusted and developed holes; maintain auditorium curtains; and replace windows at the junior high, which do not open properly for ventilation, are not energy efficient and do not provide a healthy environment.

Residents rejected the renewal in November. It was set to expire Dec. 31.

khowell@salemnews.net

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