Leon County School Bond Election, 1963

Leon County School Bond Election, 1963


Leon County School Bond Election
November 5, 1963
Freeholders who registered especially for this election will vote on the issuance of bonds in an
amount not exceeding $5,000,000 for the purpose of financing part of the cost of a school build-
ing program.
A majority (4176) of these 8351 registered freeholders must vote to constitute a valid election.
A majority of those voting will determine the outcome.
If the bond issue is defeated, at least a full year must pass before another election can be called.
The Need
The rapid growth of Leon County has made demands on the school system which are not being
met by current revenues.
The present annual increase in enrollment is approximately 480 pupils, or about 3/4 of the enroll-
ment in an average-sized elementary school. Despite major pay-as-you-go construction within the
last five years, more pupils are inadequately housed in 1963 than in 1958.
Current sources for funds for school capital outlay are:
1. A possible $170,000 a year as a result of anticipated reassessment in 1964, IF it can be
spared from maintenance.
2. A state grant of $200 for each pupil in average daily attendance in addition to the
total in the preceding year, If the increase in attendance is 5% or more, and If state
funds are matched by county funds. Although the increase has been 5% in some recent
years, the county has not been able to match the $200 grant. The increase was 3% this
A State Survey Committee recommended expenditure of $7,000,000 for capital improvements. The
Leon County Board of Public Instruction is proposing to borrow $5,000,000 for that purpose.
Proceeds of the bond issue would provide for:
1. Construction of new schools.
2. Major alterations of existing schools.
3. Purchase of new school sites.
The Cost
The bond issue, if approved, would be paid off over a period of 20 years by a tax on real and tangi-
ble personal property. The approximate average amount of money needed each year would be $329,-
000, making the total cost about $6,580,000. It would necessitate an estimated tax increase of
about 4 mills at the present assessment level. This is an average over 20 years. The first year,
because of handling charges, etc., the cost would be about 4 mills; it would decrease gradually there-
after to about 3 mills.
The average cost of 4 mills would amount to $4.00 extra tax each year on each $1,000 of non-
exempt taxable property.
Examples of the Cost to Home Owners
with Homestead Exemption
Market Value Assessed Value (at 50%) Non-exempt Value Average Yearly Tax for Bonds (at 4 mills)
$10,000 (or less) $5,000 (or less) none none
15,000 7,500 $2,500 $10.00
20,000 10,000 5,000 20.00
(NOTE: After reassessment in 1964, Leon County property will be assessed at about 75% of market value, instead
of at the present 50% rate. Millage necessary to pay for the bond issue will decrease substantially, but the actual
annual dollar cost to the aveage home owner will not change much.)
[left column]
If the present deficiencies in school plant are not cor-
rected, and Leon County continues to grow, not only
would students continue to be taught in overcrowded
classrooms and temporary buildings, but double ses-
sions and the renting of churches and other unsuitable
buildings might become necessary.
Some schools will lose their accredited standing if cer-
tain facililties, some of which cannot be built with state
funds, are not provided in the near future.
These conditions would result in a generally inadequate
level of education, which would discourage well-quali-
fied teachers and new industries from locating in
Leon County.
The same growth which necessitates enlarging our
school facilities also provides us with additional tax-
payers. As new homes and businesses are built, revenue
to pay off the debt will increase.
Improving the school system improves the community
as a whole, thus increasing all property values.
[right column]
Business and other property which does not qualify
for homestead exemption already bears too much of
the tax burden at the county level. The state tax
structure should be revised to place a fair share of the
burdern on the totally-exempt homestead owner and
non-property owners.
Interest and handling charges will amount to about
$1,500,000. This money might be saved by waiting a
few years until the new property assessment makes
possible a millage levy to provide funds on a pay-as-
you-go basis.
The bond issue is insufficient to provide the needed
school plant improvement. There is no hope of adequate
facilities if school officials continue to pare down
Survey Committee recommendations.

Public Forum on School Bond, Monday, Oct. 28, Tallahassee Federal Auditorium.
(Prepared and published by the League of Women Voters of Tallahassee as a public service)


State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, BR0170


Flier describing the ramifications of a new bond issue for the Leon County School District, which was subject to a referendum on November 5, 1963. The League of Women Voters of Tallahassee laid out an explanation of the need for the bonds and the cost of the bonds to the taxpayers. Pros and cons are also discussed.