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Half-cent sales tax might help pay for Cape charter schools

Posted at 6:53 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 09:53:46-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla — The City of Cape Coral will continue its discussion of using taxpayer money to fund its charter school system on Wednesday.

Council is trying to decide whether to ask The School District of Lee County to step in.

In 2019, the city said these charter schools are unsustainable, and council has decided it’s in favor of supporting them.

The Charter School Authority is responsible for the debt service for the construction of its buildings, its operating and maintenance costs. That comes out to $3.2 million per year.

The city has been weighing multiple options to determine whether supporting charter schools is a core city service.

The city issued the debt to build these schools, so one option has been to take money from the general fund to cover the cost.

Other options have included restructuring the lease, or having the city take over certain costs like fleet management and maintenance.

On the other hand, it's discussed what to do if it's not within the city's responsibilities to step in.

That's included the option of sending the charter school students to The School District of Lee County, who would redistribute them to public schools.

However, since council is in favor of supporting its charter system, it's now considering requesting help in a different way from the district.

If approved at Wednesday’s council meeting, they'll be sending a letter breaking down the capital, safety, and technology needs. This will be a formal request for the school district to provide a portion of its half-cent sales tax proceeds to the city for its charter schools.The meeting is set to get started at 4:30 p.m.