For Our Kids.
For Our Community.
For All of Us.
Voters in Mecklenburg County will be asked to approve a quarter-cent sales tax referendum that will provide additional funding for our parks, arts and education. This sales tax will amount to five cents per $20 you spend. It’s a small price to pay for a major investment in Mecklenburg County’s quality of life.
By voting FOR this referendum, you are making an investment in improved parks and greenways, and our quality of life. You may have noticed how woefully underfunded our parks system is compared to that of other metropolitan areas. A recent study found only 36% of Charlotte Mecklenburg residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared to the national average of 72%. And the county spends just $48 a year per resident, compared to the national average of $87.
We can do better than this, and new revenue will make that possible.
Mecklenburg County’s parks and greenway system will be rejuvenated and planned improvements will be realized if the November referendum passes. Our youth will have more outlets to stay busy with recreation and exercise while adults of all ages will be able to see the beauty of our area without having to drive far away.
Students and parents across Mecklenburg County have felt the affect of the cancellation of numerous school field trips to museums and cultural attractions, depriving our kids of the chance to learn and expand their horizons. New revenue from the sales tax would fund a joint effort by local organizations and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools to restore and expand arts, science and history education in public schools.
In addition, this funding would be used to to eliminate barriers to participation, reduce economic disparities, and enable programs to reach deep in neighborhoods across the county to ensure residents have access to programs regardless of where they live and what they can afford.
Kids who are not as interested in sports as some of their peers will have more opportunities to keep active and out of trouble. This is beneficial to our kids, our families, and our entire community.
This additional school funding will be used to help CMS hire more teacher assistants and counselors – making critical investments in our students and their classrooms. The funds will also be used to boost teacher supplements so Mecklenburg County has the ability to attract the very best educators.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we voting on a sales tax referendum?
The Mecklenburg County Commission authorized a voter referendum to consider a one-quarter cent sales tax dedicated to add funding to expand our parks and recreation programs; to ensure geographic equity and access to arts, science and history programs; to provide additional funding for our public school teachers and classroom personnel, and new monies to local governments across the county to fund their parks and arts programs.
How much is this referendum going to cost me?
This will amount to one-quarter cent more in sales tax – 25 cents per every $100 spent in Mecklenburg County.
Don’t we already have great parks in Mecklenburg County?
Mecklenburg County does have a parks system, but it is among the most underfunded parks systems in the country, according to a 2019 ParkScore ranking.
In fact, the local government spends just $48 per year for parks; compared to the national average of $87. Also, the study found only 36% of Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared to 72% of the national average.
How will this referendum benefit school children in Mecklenburg County?
As you may have heard, an increasing number of public school field trips to local museums and cultural attractions have been cancelled due to lack of funding. New revenue from the sales tax referendum will be allocated to restore these events and other cultural programming for children in neighborhoods all across the county. In addition, students will benefit from new revenue that will fund classroom staff, including teacher assistants and school counselors.
How will CMS classroom teachers benefit from the sales tax referendum?
If voters approve the referendum, the county commissioners will dedicate funding to CMS schools for teacher supplements; additional teaching assistants and new school counselors and psychologists.
How will the new funding compare to money already allocated by Mecklenburg County to these issues?
In the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools were funded at a level of $534 million, while $51 million was allocated to parks and recreation and $2 million was allocated to arts, science and cultural programs. Much of the monies dedicated to the parks and arts programs will directly benefit students within the CMS system. If we are successful in passing the November referendum, based on current budget levels, schools will receive approximately $542 million, parks and recreation will receive a total of $68 million, and $22.5 million would go to arts, science and history programs in schools and neighborhoods across the county.
Will we see direct benefit from the investments in our arts, sciences and cultural programs?
The sales tax revenue will be used to eliminate barriers to participation, reduce racial disparities and enable programs to reach deep in neighborhoods across the county to ensure residents have access to programs regardless of where they live or what they can afford. This investment will go a long way in serving every community across Mecklenburg County.
For ALL Of Us!
When you vote FOR on the November referendum, you’re voting for expanded parks and greenways; enhanced arts, science, and history programs; and to help our kids fulfill their potential.
Check back throughout the campaign to hear the powerful personal stories of people who have benefited from parks, arts, and education and how we want to expand these opportunities to everyone!
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