Because this is a continuation or renewal, let me share with you what has been accomplished with the past ED-SPLOST.
n 22 new schools have been built;
n Over 2300 new classrooms;
n More than 550 portable classroom trailers have been eliminated;
n More than 46,000 computers have been replaced;
n Major security and safety upgrade projects have been completed; and
n More than 5000 total projects completed as promised to voters.
And the best part is that the Cobb County School district is 100 percent debt free.
Here is the problem: The District’s operating budget is not sufficient to fund capital improvements, or even regular building renovations and repairs. About 90 percent of the District’s operating budget, which is supported by state funding and local property taxes, goes to pay the salaries of teachers, administrators, bus drivers, food-server employees, custodians and other staff. The other 10 percent pays for items such as textbooks and supplies, as well as utilities such as fuel, gas electricity and water. State funding and local property taxes do not provide for regular building maintenance or for technology enhancements.
Let us remind you that Cobb County is one of the only counties in Georgia that exempts all seniors 62 years and older from paying any school property tax.
Prior to ED-SPLOST, such improvements were paid for by the school district issued bonds that had to be paid back over many years with interest and resulted in property tax increases. For example, a $221 million bond issued in 1995 for school construction was paid back with an additional $92 million in interest. This ED-SPLOST program has saved taxpayers an estimated half a billion dollars in bond interest payments that we did not have to make.
Please be aware that 32 percent of all Cobb County Schools are more than 40 years old. We currently have 112 schools with 116,147 students enrolled. We all realize that timely maintenance renovations today will prevent much more costly infrastructure emergency expenses in the future. This ED-SPLOST will raise an estimated $717 million for the Cobb County School District and $55 million for the Marietta City Schools.
Cobb County residents enjoy a high quality of life resulting from the value created by relatively low tax rates and relatively high academic performance from local schools.
What happens at Cobb schools has a direct impact on your children’s education and an indirect impact on our community and home values.
We believe our community has three choices to maintain our high quality of education and the ongoing commitment to the children.
1. Bonds can be issued and we must be willing to accept debt and required interest payments.
2. An increase in property taxes to raise funding is a possibility
3. Or we can vote yes to continue the education SPLOST.
With a sales tax, those who do not pay property tax and/or live out of the county, but work and play in Cobb, will support our schools by paying a significant portion of the ED-SPLOST.
Estimates say 30 percent or more of the revenue comes from those who do not pay property taxes.
The United 4 Kids Campaign would like for you to vote YES for the continuation of the education SPLOST.
Vote Yes — for no new taxes
Vote Yes — for continued economic development
Vote Yes — for continued community pride and good property values
Vote Yes — for a continued commitment to the children in our community
A Vote Yes is saying you want to continue a healthy debt free school district.
Co-Chairs, UNITED 4 KIDS