In 2003, the voters of Polk County approved a half-cent sales tax to address critical building and capacity needs of the Polk County Public Schools. This increased the county sales tax from 6% to 6.5%, and only applies to the first $5000.00 of the price of a taxable purchase. Approved for 15 years, the collected tax was designated toward ongoing improvements, including additional schools and classrooms to accommodate population growth, modernization of older schools, the replacement of portables with permanent structures, maintenance of all facilities, repairs and enhancements to the buildings and systems, upgrades in technology, and increased student safety.
Over its initial 15-year implementation, the sales tax yielded approximately $560,000,000. The School Board used this money as the main source of capital and maintenance funding for the projects identified by the district under the Polk Promise Half-Cent Sales Tax Initiative, and for other projects approved by the oversight committee due to immediate need.
In November of 2018, the voters of Polk County approved a renewal of the half-cent sales tax to address continuing building and capacity needs within the district.
The half-cent sales tax can only be used for capital projects including facilities maintenance, renovations, and construction, as well as security and technology, Sales tax revenue cannot be spent on general operating expenses such as salaries or instructional material. The sales tax extension is projected to raise $675 million dollars for Polk County schools. As with the 2003 sales tax, audits will be conducted and the oversight committee will ensure the monies are being spent as promised.