With 61,524 enrolled students and approximately 7,300 employees, Volusia County Schools ranks 13 in the Florida largest School Districts. The Volusia School District is one of the largest employers in the county.

On August 26, 2014, Volusia County voters overwelmingly approved an extention to the half-cent sale tax which will go into effect on January 1, 2017 for a 15-year term. The extension, which can only be used for capital (facilities, technology), not general operating (salaries, instructional materials) will raise an estimated $480 million. The original half-cent sales tax was approved by voters in 2001 for an aggressive 10-year building program and was to expire at the end of 2016.

Democrats believe all children should be able to lead happy, successful lives. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring the next generation has access to an quality education and the tools to drive our economy forward. Our country is strongest when our workers are trained with the knowledge and ingenuity to perform at the highest levels. Every child should have the opportunity to reach that horizon and to fulfill the American Dream.

Democrats have long valued education as the key to success, both for individuals and for our nation. In 1944, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the G.I. Bill, a landmark piece of legislation that provided World War II veterans with opportunities for higher education. The G.I. Bill helped create the modern middle class in America.

In recent years Democrats have further increased access to higher education and restructured and dramatically expanded college financial aid, while making federal programs simpler, more reliable, and more efficient for students. In 2010, President Obama signed into law student loan reform, that cut out the role of big banks. The Obama administration also doubled our investment in Pell Grants and made it easier for students to pay back student loans. President Obama has worked to reform the higher education system and invested the most in student aid since the G.I. Bill.

The Obama administration is working to overhaul the “No Child Left Behind” program and provide teachers with more professional support and resources — while also holding them accountable. President Obama instituted “Race to the Top,” a revolutionary program designed to promote innovation and provide incentives for improvement in education. As a result, dozens of states have made changes to increase standards and implement reforms.

And in 2015, the President announced a landmark proposal to make community college free to anyone who is willing to work for it, a measure that could benefit nearly nine million students each year.

As the global marketplace grows more competitive, we need to expand opportunities for higher education and job training. Democrats are committed to increasing the college-completion rate as well as the share of students who are prepared for budding industries with specific job-related skills.

Democrats recognize education as the most pressing economic issue in America’s future, and we cannot allow our country to fall behind in a global economy. We must prepare the next generation for success in college and the workforce.