Residents vote ‘yes’ for Ed-SPLOST
by Jon Gillooly
December 31, 2013 09:52 PM | 1169 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Voters agreed to fund the Cobb and Marietta school districts with a fourth special purpose local option sales tax program in March, a tax projected to collect $773 million.

Of the 40,598 voters in the March 19 special election, 23,273 voted in favor of the tax and 17,325 against.

The tax, which collects 1 cent on the dollar, begins today and expires Dec. 31, 2018.

“I thought it was going to be very close and actually it was kind of close, but not that close,” Cobb school board member David Banks said of the referendum.

Banks said when he heard of opposition to the tax from such residents as Tom Maloy of the Georgia Tea Party and Lance Lamberton of the Cobb Taxpayers Association, he asked that they meet with Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and his staff to learn more about the projects.

“And I did not feel that we had strong opposition from those two or three groups, because I think we made a good case of why we’re doing what we’re doing, and it wasn’t perfect, but overall, it met the needs of the county,” Banks said.

Support from the east Cobb PTA groups was another important factor for the referendum’s passage.

“The PTAs were very energetic about getting people to the polls to vote, and you take Post 5 and Post 6, that was 45 percent of the entire county. They made the difference,” he said.

Paying off Marietta’s debt

Marietta City Schools is expected to collect $55 million from SPLOST IV.

School board Chairman Randy Weiner said the first priority will be paying off the system’s remaining $15.2 million in debt.

“The school district will be debt free at the end of SPLOST IV,” Weiner said.

Another allocation is $6.8 million to renovate Northcutt Stadium. And the system will pay off the remaining $3 million it owes on the new Marietta Performing Arts Center.

“I think three major items brought the most buy in from the public: all MCS outstanding debt would be paid off, Northcutt renovation, and upgraded technology improvements,” Weiner said. “Most folks support a 1 cent sales tax for capital improvements over a property tax.”

Of the $717.8 million expected to go to the Cobb School District, $159.7 million is allocated for new and replacement schools, such as a new East Cobb Middle School and new Walton and Osborne high schools, as well as a career academy and two elementary schools at yet-to-be determined locations.

There is also $10 million for land, $122.3 million for additions and modifications, $176 million for infrastructure, $150.6 million for curriculum, instruction and technology and $99 million for safety and support, according to the district’s website.

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