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Posted On: Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Cherokee County School District since 1997 has used a 1-percent Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Sales Tax) to fund capital programs, which includes constructing new schools and facilities and renovating existing ones; building technology systems; buying school buses; and acquiring land for future schools.

After an initial Ed SPLOST in 1997 for a short-term building program, our community’s business and civic leaders and elected officials formed a 2000-01 Blue Ribbon Committee to develop a long-term plan for our school district’s capital needs. The committee agreed that an Ed SPLOST and associated bonds would be the best way to catch up and keep up with rapid growth and improve our school district.

The community has renewed the Ed SPLOST three times since the Committee’s recommendation… and since that initial recommendation, student enrollment has grown from 25,000 students to nearly 42,000!

If voters approve the continuation of the Ed SPLOST on the Nov. 8 ballot, the revenue will be used to:
? Retire bond debt from rapid construction;
? Build three classroom and multi-purpose learning construction projects;
? Renovate various schools and campuses including installing artificial turf in high school stadiums to improve safety and efficiency and reduce operational costs;
? Purchase school buses to replace aging buses;
? Maintain our outstanding technology infrastructure; and,
? Purchase land for future school sites.

The Ed SPLOST offers our community the option of paying for these costs through a sales tax that everyone – including many visitors to our county – pays based on consumption instead of through an increase in the property tax millage rate. With the Ed SPLOST, our county’s total sales tax remains a competitive 6 cents (the lowest in Georgia).

If property taxes were used instead of the Ed SPLOST, it would be an immediate increase of 5 mills on every tax bill… and all new construction and technology and bus purchases would come to a halt. The proposed $115 Million in new bonds would not extend the debt retirement plan… the School District’s “mortgage” will remain on track to be retired in 2033.

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