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Gainesville Chamber's I3 supports half cent tax in aid of public schools

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Alachua county officials say its time to fix up public schools, but they need the community's help.

Idylwild Elementary, housing nearly 800 students has a cafeteria that holds fewer than 200 kids.

"That's the largest meeting place I have on my campus, so having a whole school assembly is an unknown at Idylwild," said Wanza Wakeley the principal of Idylwild.

County school officials say it's time for a change, and that a students learning environment is vital for success.

The Gainesville Chamber of Commerce announced its support of a .5% sales tax that'll help fund schools. Gainesville has the lowest sales tax compared to surrounding counties, Rob Hyatt of the Alachua County school board said.

The sales tax can only be granted three ways; approved through county commissioners, required by legislation, or petitioned by voters. And if approved, supporters say the tax would cost households about $58 per year. I3 Board members with the Chamber say visitors to the area would pay about a third of the tax.

If the sales tax is accepted, residents will vote on it in November 2018.

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