Vote YES for Education

The financial future of Columbia County Schools is coming up for a vote. Specifically,  if  the one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes should continue.  (The Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or ESPLOST.)

Even if you don’t have children in school, the money that goes to education is vital for Columbia County.  A good school system draws people to this area and will help your home keep its value and increase in value.

This tax provides funds to help pay for the following…

1) The cost of

– acquiring, constructing and equipping five new elementary schools, two new middle schools, one new athletic complex at an exiting high school and certain new athletic facilities at other existing high schools.

– Acquiring land for future schools, instructional and administrative technology improvements for existing schools and school buses.

– Adding to , renovating, repairing, improving and equipping existing school buildings, existing athletic facilities and other buildings and facilities useful or desirable in connection therewith.

and acquiring any necessary property therefor, both real and personal.

2) to the extent funds are available, the cost of acquiring, constructing, and equipping one new high school and acquiring any necessary property therefor, both real and personal;

– the maximum cost of the projects described in causes (1) and (2) above to be $140,000,000

Without ESPLOST, it would be challenging to do facility improvements such as:

– Replacing HVAC, Renovating science labs, resurfacing gym floors and adding new bleachers, upgrading auditoriums, repairing parking lots, adding new lights, improving labs for culinary arts programs and replacing roofs.  The ESPLOST can also be used for technology, buses and retirement of previously incurred debt.

While ESPLOST funds can not be used for instructional supplies or salaries, they can help ease schools’ financial burden so that there is money left in the budget for these things.   The tax began in 1997 and has to be voted on every 5 years.

We encourage you to vote to continue to have this one percent sales tax to be used for educational purposes. Voting is on Tuesday, March 17th. 

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