101619_PNN_ESPLOST_Paulding

A new McClure Middle School would replace the current school as part of renewal of the 1% ESPLOST in a Nov. 5 referendum.

Questions about why Paulding schools need the money from 1% of all retail sales in the county for the next seven years can be answered at a series of five public events the school district is hosting this month.

Paulding County School District officials will host a series of five “Community Conversations” this month at each county high school beginning Thursday, Oct. 10.

The events are planned to discuss renewal of the county’s 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for education (ESPLOST) in anticipation of a Nov. 5 referendum on the tax’s renewal through early 2026.

The Community Conversations are set for:

♦ Monday, Oct. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Paulding County High School, 1297 Villa Rica Hwy., Dallas;

♦ Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Hiram High School, 702 Ballentine Drive, Hiram;

♦ Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at East Paulding High School, 3320 East Paulding Drive, Dallas;

♦ Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at North Paulding High School, 300 North Paulding Drive, Dallas.

The 1% sales tax now in place runs through March 31, 2021. Voters will be asked Nov. 5 to continue its collection from April 1, 2021, through March 31, 2026 to raise up to $120 million.

Almost $41 million of the sales tax proceeds will be used to pay off part of the bond debt from a 2014 issue.

The remaining $79 million will be used for immediate start to construction of a new middle school to replace McClure Middle School and additions to Moses Middle and Roberts and Russom elementary schools; and future renovations at Austin Middle and Allgood, Baggett, Dugan and Poole elementary school.

The new middle school is planned for a site other than its present location adjacent to North Paulding High School off Harmony Grove Church Road.

The current McClure Middle School building will be used as an annex for fast-growing North Paulding High.

Officials believe construction of a new middle school will be considerably less costly than a new high school in the fast-growing area. North Paulding is rapidly approaching an enrollment one-third larger than any of the other four county high schools.

It will also fund $6 million for planned safety and security upgrades, as well as “technology enhancements, fine arts initiatives” and improvements to track, tennis, gym and other athletic facility improvements.

By state law, ESPLOST proceeds cannot be used to fund operations or salaries.

Officials estimate it will raise more than $113 million over five years, though voters will be asked to set a cap of $120 million.

Voters in the referendum will use the state’s new paper-based electronic voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office chose Paulding as a test site for the new machines before the March 2020 presidential primary in Georgia.

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