E-SPLOST blanks: 61% of funds for proposed school tax projects still not specified

After adopting a resolution in May calling for a Nov. 6 vote to continue the 1-cent E-SPLOST sales tax, the Fayette County Board of Education is waiting until the last few days before the referendum to flesh out the list of projects the tax extension is supposed to pay for.

At this point more than 61 percent of the proposed tax extension is not earmarked for any specific projects.

With the extended tax carrying a maximum collection ceiling of $107 million, the school system has provided a list of facilities improvements that total $41.5 million of the projected revenues. Dollar totals for the other E-SPLOST categories have not been determined as of yet.

The current E-SPLOST expires in April 2014 and carries a $115 million collection ceiling, though actual collections are expected to total approximately $95 million — $20 million less than expected — due to the recession.

If the referendum passes this year, it would extend 1-cent sales tax collections through April 2019. Under Georgia law, if it fails, the board could try again and have it included on another ballot in January 2014 at the earliest. [Sentence corrected to reflect that a year and a month must pass before a second referendum could be scheduled.]*

The school system’s E-SPLOST committee recommended projects under categories that include technology and facility improvements/upgrades, purchasing new school buses, instructional materials and textbooks and lowering the bond debt, according to the school system’s website.

Agreed in May by the school board, the bond indebtedness pay-down would not exceed $10 million. Per requirement, the maximum bond debt must be stated when the resolution to establish the E-SPLOST is adopted.

The other area where a dollar amount for projects have been identified is in the area of facility improvements. Listed on the school system’s website are both current and future E-SPLOST projects. Current projects total $17.65 million and include HVAC and/or roof work at North Fayette Elementary, McIntosh High, Burch Elementary, Flat Rock Middle and Sandy Creek High.

Future E-SPLOST facility projects, from 2015-2018, total $41.5 million and include roof and HVAC work at Braelinn Elementary and Whitewater Middle and roof and HVAC work and renovations such as painting, replacing floors, replacing suspended ceiling systems and lights at five other schools. Those schools include Kedron Elementary, Spring Hill Elementary, Fayette County High, Starr’s Mill High and Rising Starr Middle.

As for the other dollar amounts assigned to the other E-SPLOST categories, school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said Tuesday that no list is available for those categories, adding that she did not know if one would be created.

Though proposed at a meeting earlier this year, the board decided not to include artificial turf in the E-SPLOST list of projects.

The current E-SPLOST was approved by voters in November 2008 and became effective in April 2009.

*[Story corrected to reflect Georgia law that sets the earliest date the board of education could resubmit a referendum to the public after a defeat.]

Husband and Fat...
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Maybe next year

This is frustrating. We vote for the board members to be good stewards of our monies. We expect them to have and present a plan.

Then they ask others to go out and lobby for the tax, but they can't tell us what they plan to do with all of the fees generated. All they refer to is what they legally are entitled to pay for from this pot of gold.

I present line item budgets every day when I make presentations to clients. I wouldnt have a job if I had 1% of the costs, let alone 61% of the costs floating around unaccounted for.

I think the BOE better start thinking about how they can better present this tax next year. I feel the present referendum is going to fail miserably.

Larry Sussberg
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Husband & Father of 2

Note the correction in the article. Earliest is November 2014.

You definitely feel very conflicted on this issue and passionate in living within your means.

Once in that voting booth, after weighing all that one knows, it's still a personal choice we all have to make.

Best of luck in your decision making process.
See you at Tuesday Oct 16 forum.
Thanks

Larry Sussberg
Huntington Learning Center
Peachtree City

Husband and Fat...
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Joined: 07/23/2012
Would love to attend

However I think the wife would kill me if I miss the one night next week I have available for a family dinner. I coach two fall sports teams and shuffle the kids to scouts four nights a week. In addition, the 5:30 meeting time does not allow me Time to make it from downtown.

Would like to introduce myself, as we have a lot in common. May try to stop by one day when I need my Rita's craving satisfied. Just look for the 40 something man whose hair is running away from his mouth.

NUK_1
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Rita's is GONE!

Noticed that two weekends ago....empty building with big "For Rent" signs on the windows. Unless they moved to a different location, Rita's is sadly no more in PTC.

hutch866
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Well Damn

I'm friends with the owners, in fact sold him a a/c part a couple months ago. My daughter will be most saddened by this, used to babysit for them. Really nice people.

Husband and Fat...
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Joined: 07/23/2012
Nuk, you just ruined my day

I think I was there 3-4 weeks ago with the kids. My favorite dessert gone from PTC? Wow. Guess the rent was too high. Hopeful they will reopen at a new location. Maybe one with a drive thru.