Those of us who have had the pleasure of living in Orange County since 2002 remember how our local sales tax went from 6 percent to 6.5 percent. That additional half penny was overwhelmingly approved by Orange County voters to provide funding for construction and renovation of schools through 2015. Our community has experienced the positive results of these dollars, of which tourists pay 55% of all sales tax collected.
Schools in West Orange included Dr. Phillips and Evans high; MetroWest, Palm Lake and Windermere elementary; and Gotha Middle, just to name a few from the total list of 94 schools.
In addition to our community being recipients of school rebuilds and renovations, our community experienced and will continue to experience the positive economic impact from the 81,000 jobs created and $3 billion dollars to the local economy. Even with all this great work, there is more to be done. In order for Orange County Public Schools to fulfill its 10-year capital needs, an extension to the half penny is needed. That extension for another 10 years will provide $2 billion and would allow for four new relief schools, technology upgrades and 59 school renovations. Many of the renovations are once again right here in West Orange and will include Olympia High; Westside Tech; Frangus, Maxey and Oak Hill elementary; Lakeview and Southwest middle, and even more.
This 10-year program will create thousands of additional jobs and billions of dollars for our local economy. We understand that great schools are an economic driver, and for this reason and for the sake of our youth and their future, we urge you to vote early, by absentee ballot or at the polls at the Primary Election on Aug. 26. Vote “yes” for the half-penny renewal.
Stina D’Uva, President/CEO
West Orange Chamber of Commerce