SPLOST vote is March 20

Mon, 03/12/2007 - 8:52am
By: The Citizen

The Fulton County Board of Education says it wants to build eight new schools in south Fulton and make classroom additions to three others. Speaking Thursday, Superintendent James Wilson told members of the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce the March 20 vote to continue the schools system’s one-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) will provide the means to build the new schools and make additions and upgrades to others.

“We have added 10,000 students in the past two years and will be adding 20,000 more in the next five years,” Wilson said. “And a good portion of that growth is in south Fulton.”

The school system broke ground on a new high school, middle school and elementary school in south Fulton in recent months, but those cannot keep pace with the 20,000 single family home permits already approved for construction in south Fulton.

A continuation of the one-percent tax would bring eight of the system’s 14 new schools to south Fulton. Five of the seven planned elementary schools would be built in south Fulton, with one in north Fulton and one in Sandy Springs. Two of the four new high schools are planned for south Fulton, as is one of the three new middle schools. Major classroom expansion projects are planned for two elementary schools and one high school in south Fulton.

SPLOST improvements for other existing south Fulton schools include upgrading or replacing items such as carpet and flooring, intercoms, roofing, gutters and downspouts, bleachers, work on rest rooms and cafeterias, emergency generators, gym lighting, fencing and sidewalks, repaving projects, synthetic turf, basketball goals and sound systems.

The March 20 vote would be a continuation of the first voter-approved one-percent tax that began in 1997. Now up for continuation for a second time, SPLOST III will address public school needs until 2012, Wilson said.

Wilson reviewed the three methods used to finance school projects. Millage rate increases directly affect property owners, while bonds require large interest payments, he said. A one-percent sales tax is a pay-as-you-go plan with no interest payments, one in which every property owner, renter, visitor and tourist who spends money in Fulton County contributes.

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