2018-02-07 / Front Page

BOE requests to extend 1% Educational Sales Tax

By Deborah Bennett
Millen News editor

Voters of Jenkins County will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on Tuesday, May 22nd to a request from the Jenkins County Board of Education that would extend the current 1% Education Sales and Use Tax.

That current tax was approved by voters in 2013 for a five year period for the purpose of generating local funds needed for the construction of the new PreK-12 school. It was predicted the tax would generate $3.5 million.

If the Education Sales Tax is approved for an additional 5-year period, it is predicted the tax would raise not more $4 million. The ESPLOST vote will be the fifth continuation of the 1% tax if approved.

As stated in a legal ad, “Funds derived from the 1% tax would be used for the purposes of adding to, renovating, improving, demolishing, furnishing, and equipping existing school district buildings and facilities; system-wide technology improvements and acquiring new school equipment, including safety and security equipment.”

Should the Education Sales Tax receive voter approval, it will begin when the current Education Sales Tax expires. Should the tax fail to receive voter approval, the current tax would expire the year 2020.

It is important to note that the BOE is not asking for an “additional” tax, but the “extension” of the current 1% Education Sales Tax.

“Our school system relies heavily on the ESPLOST funds. Low income counties need these funds for capital improvements and equipment. We have been receiving ESPLOST funds since 2000 with no problem. The new 22 million dollar school building only cost our county 3.5 million dollars – thanks to these funds. We’ll use a lot of the new funds on furnishing and equipping our new school. Sales tax is a fair tax in that it takes some of the burden off of property owners to fund the school system. We are so appreciative to the voters for making education a priority. It’s an exciting time for our schools, Millen, and Jenkins County,” said Tara Cooper, Jenkins County School Superintendent.

In addition to local and state funding, the new school currently under construction is being funded through a Department of Education Facilities Division Low Wealth Grant at an estimated cost of $22 million.

The last day to register to vote in the May 22nd election is Tuesday, April 24. Anyone who is not already registered may do so by applying in person at the Jenkins County Registrar’s Office at the Jenkins County Courthouse.

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