Penny Sales Tax funding 70M makeover at Palm Beach County schools


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – While Palm Beach County schools are closed for the summer, several are getting a $70 million makeover. 

It's all being funded through the Penny Sales Tax which went into effect in Jan. 2017. It's a 10-year plan that’s expected to generate $2.7 billion for the school district, county, and city. 

Inside Watson B. Duncan Middle School you'll find a principal anxious for change.

"They're going to say I love it," Principal Phillip D'Amico said. 

He's talking about the $12 million worth of renovations happening at the middle school. 

He gave WPTV a tour of the school, Thursday and told us about renovations he's been waiting on for 15 years. 

"The kids would comment and that's what kind of hurt," he recalled. "They would say, Mr. D, that's starting to look pretty bad, can we get something new over here, can we get this? Can we get that?"

Now, 44 upgrades and renovations are scheduled to take place this summer. This school is just one of 10 in the county getting a makeover and the money is coming directly from the Penny Sales Tax. 

"I would say it's like waking up on Christmas morning," D'Amico said. 

So far around $70 million worth of renovations has been scheduled for schools in the district. Principal D'Amico says this money is also helping security.

"10-foot fences already installed post-Parkland and we have a gate going in today as you saw in the front," he said. "We're tightening up. I will have a single point entry beginning in August."

But right now D'Amico is appreciating the small things like a sprinkler system to help grow plants and grass in the courtyard.

"The kids deserve it, we're sitting in a beautiful area in Palm Beach County, Florida and it's good that taxpayers have voted yes to make our school resemble the neighborhood."

The school district will receive 50 percent of the Penny Sales Tax money while the county will receive 30 percent and municipalities will receive 20 percent. 

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