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Putting Children First Infrastructure Investment Initiative (I3)
The i3 Steering Committee gathered information from public officials overseeing ourcommunity’s infrastructure, including our public safety communications systems, ourK-12 public schools, our roads and our parks and recreational facilities. Three publicinput meetings allowed community members to hear from public officials about ourpublic safety communications system, our schools and our roads. The committee alsoheard from community organizations devoted to improving life in our region,including those dedicated to serving the needs of birth-to-age-five children, toimproving transit options and to upgrading internet connectivity throughout thecounty.
Update – December 2019
Much progress has been made since the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce issued this report in October of 2017. Back then, the Chamber’s i3 (Putting Children First Infrastructure Investment Initiative) Steering Committee had concluded nearly a year of research and public forums seeking to identify our community’s most pressing infrastructure needs. The Committee heard presentations from various organizations, held 18 meetings with public officials and three public forums and made four presentations to the community.
Having evaluated the needs as presented, and researched funding options available to pay for the needs, the i3 Steering Committee and the Greater Gainesville Chamber voted in support of a proposed School Board of Alachua County sales tax initiative in 2018 to repair, modernize and increase capacity in our K-12 schools.
The School Board and the Alachua County Council of PTAs then activated their plans to pursue the sales surtax, and set out to ensure the community understood where every dollar would be spent before they cast their votes. The resulting November of 2018 ballot initiative won approval by a whopping 68% of voters.
Since then, the School Board of Alachua County—with input from parents, teachers and administrators at every school in the district—crafted a plan to renovate and improve all 41 existing schools, in addition to building a new school. Over the life of the surtax—through 2033—the district will spend nearly $500 million, which includes the projected $250 million the tax will generate. Another $20 million worth of projects will be planned for.
On the two-year anniversary of the start of the i3 effort, the School Board, the ACCPTA, the Greater Gainesville Chamber, the i3 Committee and a team of education, business and community of leaders are today galvanizing around an additional goal: As we make good on our promise to improve school facilities for Alachua County children, we also want to ensure that local businesses of all types and sizes are empowered to leverage this exponential opportunity to grow their own businesses by competing for and performing as much of this work as possible.
Watch for future updates as we continue to work together to help create a high-quality learning environment for every student in our community.