A majority of Whitfield County voters on Tuesday chose to reenact the education special purpose local option sales tax (ESPLOST).
Preliminary results show 54% percent of voters elected to support the ESPLOST.
"We appreciate the wisdom of Whitfield County voters and the grassroots support from everyone involved with the Citizens for a Smart ESPLOST," said Danny Hayes, superintendent of Whitfield County Schools. "They understand that investing in high-quality public education is the backbone of our community for existing residents as well as future families and businesses that will choose to live in this area.
The 1-cent sales tax will begin on Jan. 1, 2013, and continue for five years or after earning $105 million, whichever comes first. Revenue will be shared between Whitfield County Schools and Dalton Public Schools according to student enrollment, which totals approximately $68,649,000 for the county and up to $36 million for the city.
Whitfield County educators have detailed how they plan to invest ESPLOST funding three areas to improve learning experiences for students.
1. Repay Debt - ESPLOST III included projects including three new schools: Cedar Ridge Elementary, Coahulla Creek High School, and the brand new Eastbrook Middle School. Revenue from ESPLOST IV approved today will be used to repay $36 million in debt, the school system's mortgage so to speak.
2. Technology - A portion of the revenue will be used to update and improve technology used by students and staff every day.
3. Facilities - School system staff worked with independent architects from Buckley and Associates to highlight critical building needs across the district. Work includes projects from replacing out-of-date heating and air conditioning units improving plumbing in the schools to repairing leaking roofs and improving efficiency with modern lighting.