With a 66.1% majority, Williamson County residents have voted to increase the sales tax by .5% to help fund schools, bringing the total sales tax to 9.75% from 9.25%. The voter turnout was 8.7% and 12,365 ballots were cast in the special referendum.

The revenue raised will go toward rural and general school debt service. The tax will raise an estimated $60 million. In the 2017 county budget, just shy of $63 million went to school debt service alone. This will free up other revenue for capital expenditures like buying land for and building schools.

After three years, the money raised by full half-percent will begin to revert back to the five municipalities that adopted the tax.

Williamson County Schools expects to add some 20,000 students in the next decade, and will need to build at least 17 new schools at a price of up to $500 million to accommodate that growth. The very-nearly 40,000 students enrolled in the district this year already are taxing the system’s capacity— some 9 schools are at or above capacity and 7 more are getting close.

WCS Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney thanked voters on Tuesday night for voting.

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