Voters in Grady County, Georgia will decide Tuesday on the fate of the "Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax", or SPLOST. It’s money that will fund some major improvements in the school system over the next several years.
Faculty and staff at Washington Middle School are still raving about their new cafeteria, among other major improvements all made possible through SPLOST dollars.
Betsi Heinlen, the assistant principal at Washington Middle, says, "We had three renovated classrooms’ wings and we also added a forth classroom wing with some administration offices."
Tuesday voters decide whether the SPLOST will be renewed for the next five years. If approved the proceeds will help completely renovate Shiver Elementary School and build 50 new classrooms in all elementary schools.
Steve Wooten, the superintendent of Grady County schools, says, "We found that the best way to teach our students is to have smaller class sizes, so we have to have more classrooms to get the small numbers."
Voters in favor of the tax say it's the only fair way to collect the funding.
Joyce Hancock says, "I heard a presentation with the long-term plans for the money and I think it's a good thing; this way everybody pays."
Wooten adds, "Our millage rate has been the same for the past four years that says a lot to our taxpayers. We're doing what we can to maintain taxes. The SPLOST helped us do that."
Betsi Heinlen says, "It makes all the difference in the world for those children to walk into a beautiful facility like we have now."
One penny at a time, officials plan to usher in even more improvements across the board for local schools. If approved, the new tax will take affect July of next year. About $13 million is expected to be collected over the next five years for school projects.