Grady County Schools Thankful for Sales Tax

Officials with the Grady County School Board are hoping the public will vote to renew the one-penny sales tax. The Grady County School Board relies a great deal on SPLOST dollars, and while millions of dollars have already been put to use, officials say there's much more that still needs to be done at local schools.

The superintendent of Grady County schools says from 2000 to 2004, $10 million were raised from SPLOST dollars that where put to use in local schools.

Steve Wooten, Superintendent, says, "We've added classrooms at all the elementary and the middle school. We've totally renovated the middle school and spent four and half million dollars at the middle school."

Wooten says those improvements were just the tip of the iceberg and the School Board is hoping the public will vote to renew the penny sales tax for another five years.

If SPLOST is renewed, Shiver Elementary will undergo a total renovation. All elementary schools will get new wings for classrooms, Cairo High School will get a new gym and new computers and buses will be bought for schools.

Cairo High's band director says he's looking forward to the renewal.

Johnny Folsom, the band director, says, "They are hoping to help us with badly needed instrument needs and badly needed storage space in our fine facility."

Wooten says property taxes have not been raised in the past four years thanks to the SPLOST, a tax he says is the only fair way to collect for education.

Wooten adds, "Over the next five years $13 million will be raised with that one percent sales tax. Our needs are about $20 million, but this will give us a great start."

The Grady County School Board is now trying to get together a committee that will go out in the community to promote the renewal of the SPLOST.

There's a meeting on Thursday at 7:00 at the Cairo High School media center for those who are interested. The School Board is planning a special election on September 21 for folks to vote on the tax. The SPLOST will be the only referendum on the ballot.