VIERA, Fla. – In a 30-second long YouTube video posted last week by Brevard Public Schools, world-renowned surfer and Cocoa Beach native Kelly Slater gives his thoughts about the proposed half-cent sales tax in Brevard County.
Slater, who still has property in Cocoa Beach, talks about what the sales tax means for the district and why he believes people in Brevard need to vote yes in November.
"I think it's super important to have a surtax. It's going to help the community, help the kids. This is something we can't pass up," said Slater in the YouTube video.
Art, music, theater and sciences all could be on the chopping block if voters don't approve the surtax. Officials have also said they'll consider establishing a "pay-to-play" fee for sports.
"A lot of things that make school fun, people don't put such an emphasis on. They don't think that's learning, but actually it makes kids want to be there and focus on other areas," said Slater. "Athletics are one thing, I think, (that) truly brings people together at school."
Just like last year, four schools in the county could be forced to close if the sales tax fails to pass.
"Please get the info on the surtax. I think it's a really good thing," Slater ended the video saying.
So how did Brevard Public Schools land arguably the world's best and most recognizable surfer? Officials said Cocoa Beach High School's principal gave them Slater's email. After talking about the budget issues the district is having, he decided to do the interview and lend his name in an effort to pass the tax hike.
If approved in November, Brevard's sales tax would jump from 6 to 6.5 percent. Officials said the increase will raise some $32 million a year for the school district.