New surtax dashboard to help community keep track of projects, dollars spent

May 3, 2021 – To help the community see exactly how revenue generated through a voter-approved sales tax is being used to improve Duval school buildings, the district has launched a new monitoring tool. 

Available at https://dcps.duvalschools.org/Page/29838, the new surtax dashboard provides the timelines and expenditures of all the projects funded through the half-cent sales. Projects are also searchable by name of school, board member district, project type, or project status.

The dashboard also provides an at-a-glance overview of current total expenditures that will be updated regularly. For example, as of May 3, the dashboard projects more than $37 million to be received by the school district by the end of June.

District leaders advise the dashboard is a living document, updated monthly, to reflect continuous developments and adjustments.

“Transparency is key,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations Paul Soares. “The community overwhelming showed they wanted to invest in students and the future of our schools when they approved the sales tax this past November, and we owe it to them to provide a tool to monitor how we’re using the money. This dashboard, along with our Citizens Oversight Committee, gives the community the ability to supervise what we’re doing.”

The half-cent sales tax is designed to fund a Master Facilities Plan that addresses Duval’s aging school buildings, which are the oldest in the state.

Specifically, the money will: 1) Address more than $1 billion in maintenance that has been deferred more than 10 years as a result of state funding cuts; 2) Enable the district to “right size” and cut administrative costs; 3) Improve the safety and security of every school; 4) Remove most portables in schools and 5) Improve the learning environment for all students by renovating/repairing schools and reducing the average age of the district’s school buildings. 

Each project was approved by the school board in 2019 as the final step in the district master facility planning process.

In addition to tracking how dollars are spent, Soares said the dashboard will monitor whether the district is reaching its goals in prioritizing minority, women, and small businesses owners in receiving contracts through this process.