Sales tax referendum on ballot in Henry and Patrick counties would provide funding for school improvements

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 10:56 AM EDT
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COLLINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - In 2019, a referendum made Halifax County the first county in the state to be able to add a one-percent sales tax to fund renovations or new construction of their schools.

That led to the general assembly allowing Henry and Patrick counties to do the same in 2020, as well as Danville and Pittsylvania County in 2021.

Even as Henry County opened a new elementary school in 2018, the rest of their schools, are at least 30 years old. The school system now has 17 planned improve projects.

“Over the years we have had to save our money, just so that we could have the carry forward and hopefully have a million dollars, or close to a million dollars, for capital projects.” said Henry County School’s superintendent, Sandy Strayer.

The new sales tax revenue would mean projects like a new cafeteria at Carver Elementary, field house at Bassett and Magna Vista High Schools, and a complete new roof at Bassett would be streamlined.

Strayer says the funding would be timely, as the impact of COVID-19 on future budgets is unknown.

“We don’t know what the impacts are going to be yet but we certainly know there are going to be impacted and we are already very frugal and conservative.” said Strayer.

Still, if the referendum doesn’t pass, the schools will still work to complete all their projects.

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