2005-03-02 / Front Page

ESPLOST means no new tax

Submitted by Hayward Cordy
Jenkins County School Superintendent

Submitted by Hayward Cordy
Jenkins County School Superintendent

On Tuesday, March 15, the citizens of Jenkins County will have the opportunity to vote "yes" to extend the current Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST). The ESPLOST is a 1 percent sales tax that already exists in Jenkins County. This will not be a tax increase but rather an extension of the current one percent sales tax for education for five additional years. The current ESPLOST is scheduled to expire this month. Sales tax in Jenkins County will remain at its current level.An advantage of the ESPLOST is that the cost of educational facilities and equipment is shared with visitors and all citizens, not just property owners. ESPLOST is a fair tax because everyone pays.

Improvements already made through use of ESPLOST funds include the construction of 12 classrooms at Jenkins County Elementary School. These classrooms allowed the system to move all classes including the pre-kindergarten program from mobile units into the main building. In addition, 12 classrooms were constructed at Jenkins County Middle/High School. The additional classrooms allowed the system to move all regular and special education programs from mobile units into the main building. A highlight of the new classroom for special needs students is the inclusion of a kitchen area that includes a sink, stove, washer and dryer. Students are able to learn and practice self-help skills to help prepare them to be self-sufficient adults.

In addition, work has already begun on the construction of five tennis courts, which will make it possible for Jenkins County High School to be able to host local tennis matches. Bids have been received and will be awarded shortly for renovation of the football stadium and cafeteria. Renovations to the football stadium include a new press box and bleachers that will seat approximately 2,500 people. Renovations to the cafeteria include new equipment and a larger food preparation and serving area. Work on the football stadium and cafeteria is scheduled to be completed by the end of this summer.Among the new projects to be funded by the ESPLOST extension on March 15, would be the construction of a gymnatorium, improved athletic facilities including a new track and field house and relocation of the bus shop and maintenance shop to make room for the gymnatorium and track field. The gym would include a full-size stage. The stage would allow the gym to be to converted to an auditorium. The gymnatorium, with stadium seating, would seat approximately 1,200 people in the stands as well as several hundred on the floor. The gymnatorium would provide a much-needed venue for community programs and activities requiring either a stage for performances or large seating capacity. Renovations, safety and security equipment and technology upgrades at all schools are included in the March 15 referendum as well..


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