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CHAMBER ENDORSES ONE MILL FOR SCHOOLS
The Greater Gainesville Chamber endorses the renewal of the One Mill for Schools ballot initiative. We find this initiative to be an integral piece of funding for our schools, educational programs, and most importantly, the future success of our children. This creates a better-educated community, a stronger workforce and a better business environment.
During the Great Recession, students in Alachua County Public Schools had access to many vital programs and services that other students in Florida didn’t. By approving the One Mill for Schools in 2008, 2012 and 2016, local voters ensured that our schools had the funding they needed to maintain art and music teachers, school counselors, librarians, academic and career-tech programs, middle and high school bands and choruses and classroom technology. The One Mill has also guaranteed a nurse in every school.
Currently the One Mill supports more than 320 jobs, and it’s the district’s primary source of technology funding. Today our schools face an even bigger crisis than the Great Recession. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alachua County Public Schools could lose as much as $16 million in funding just this year, possibly even more. That doesn’t include the millions of extra dollars the district has spent on COVID for everything from personal protective equipment to training to laptops for students learning online.
That’s why the One Mill is back on the ballot this year. The $17 million it raises each year will help our schools weather this crisis and keep in place the vital programs and services our children will need more than ever.
In fact, the One Mill is important to all of us, whether we have children in school or not. High-quality schools help attract new businesses and jobs to the community. They boost the economy and property values. Most of all, they prepare our young people to be successful and productive adults.