‘Listening tour’: Beaufort Co. education group gathers input on possible sales tax

Beaufort County taxpayers could soon face the decision, are they willing to spend another penny on every dollar, in a sales tax to help their schools?

Some Beaufort County citizens tell NEWS 3 they would be willing to pay the extra penny on every dollar, if it does go to the schools. Called the ‘Education Capital Improvements Sales Tax,’ it would fund building new schools, and maintenance of existing schools to cover roofing and HVAC (Heating ventilation air conditioning) raising about $282 million over 10 years. The school district projects a growth in student population in thousands of children in the coming years.

“I would give it the ‘yes’ because education is probably one of the best things we have going for us as a people,” Robert Smith said.

“I think it’s a really good idea, anything to benefit the schools is an advantage, especially if they need to build more schools with the influx of children,” Danielle Gilbert said.

On Wednesday night, the group CARE (Citizens Advocating Responsible Education) began their first community information meeting of what’s called the ‘listening tour.’ At 6:30 at the St. Helena branch of the Beaufort County Public Library, founder Richard Bisi held the first meeting to make citizens aware of details of the tax proposal.

“We’re looking for input on this school building sales tax plan,” Bisi said.

The CARE leader formed his grassroots group after controversy surrounding the Superintendent of Beaufort County Schools Jeff Moss being accused of nepotism; Bisi says the debacle could be a factor in a potential ‘no’ vote if the tax proposal goes on the November referendum.

“So far, the reaction on social media has not been kind. Many people have suggested that it would end up and result in being a referendum on the actions of the Superintendent, Superintendent Moss, and the behavior quite frankly of the school board in the last six months,” he says.

It’s up to the School Board now to decide if the option for the tax goes on the referendum. There will be more ‘listening tour’ meetings held over the next few weeks.

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