What is an EDUCATION SPLOST (ESPLOST)?
An Education Special Purpose Location Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) allows local school districts the option to ask voters for the ability to levy and collect a one percent sales tax to help fund school facility and equipment improvements. It can be used to pay for capital projects or to retire debt, but cannot be used to pay operating expenses, such as salaries. ESPLOSTs are enacted by referendum.
Will the continuation of the ESPLOST increase my property tax?
No. The penny sales tax shifts some of the responsibility of providing quality educational facilities from property owners to all citizens (and visitors) of the community.
How would a "NO" vote affect the school system?
The non-renewal of the current ESPLOST would force the school district to consider other funding sources to address capital improvements. As a result, the property taxes could increase to fund debt from previous construction, or to cover the cost of future repairs and other capital improvements.
Could the school system use the penny sales tax for other things, like hiring more teachers or giving them raises?
No. The penny sales tax cannot be used for personnel or any other operational costs. Only capital projects, which include new schools, classrooms, technology, and debt retirement, are acceptable uses of the sales tax revenue.
What criteria are used to determine which projects make the list?
A district-wide Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) was completed and serves as a key data tool to focus the project list. School Surveys and enrollment projections have also been utilized for the development of the draft project list. Eight Public Meetings were held in May 2016 for public input and feedback.
Has the current ESPLOST been a success?
Yes! The current ESPLOST revenue has been wisely spent by the school system and needed improvements have been made. ESPLOST I included 7 new/replacement schools and ESPLOST II includes 9 new/replacement schools.
How will my money be spent?
The draft plan demonstrates a commitment to STEM education, physical education, and athletics, school renovations, and a response to the overwhelming growth in western Chatham County. It would provide more state-of-the-art learning facilities for our students, much needed system upgrades, and critical school renovation projects.
If approved, ESPLOST funds will be allocated as follows:
New Facilities and Additions (6 new/replacement schools and 6 major addition projects)
Safety and security improvements
Site Work - Physical Education/Athletics
System Upgrades for HVAC, Roofing and Life Safety
Bond Debt Reduction
When is the referendum for renewal?
The ESPLOST continuation vote does not impact property taxes or business/commercial taxes - ESPLOST would continue the existing one cent penny sales tax. This way, the tax burden is spread among tourists, visitors and anyone who makes a purchase within the jurisdiction of the school district. The vote to renew the existing ESPLOST would take place on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
Why should people who do not have children in school support the ESPLOST extension?
The ESPLOST extension helps keep ad valorem taxes stable. Additionally, the children are not the only ones who benefit from good schools. The social and economic strength of a community are greatly influenced by the school system. Good schools mean well-prepared citizens, a strong labor market, and an inviting atmosphere for living and working. One of the key questions asked by industrial/commercial or residential prospects looking to move into a community is, “What is the quality of the schools?”
EIII Questions Received from Public Meetings
Why does Heard Elementary not have a middle school program to feed into for the specialty program?
Students completing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) specialty program at Heard have options to choose from in middle grade Choice Programs (Specialty) including the STEM Academy at Bartlett, Medical & Allied Health at DeRenne Middle, or the Career and Technical program at Hubert Middle. See Specialty School listings located in the schools section at www.sccpss.com.
Is it possible for Heard to become a K-8?
The District currently has adequate capacity for middle schools students in the mid-town area. Adding additional spaces could have a detrimental impact on state funding and increase the cost of educating students.
Has anyone asked teachers if an increased number of computers or more projection hardware is going to be helpful?
Technology has become an essential tool for the 21st century learner. Specifically, computers are used for researching, collaborating, and working on projects. It is our desire to ensure all of our students have access to online digital education resources that are available from the district, state, and the world. Teachers recognize this and ask every year for additional modern technology. This can only be achieved with the support from our community through ESPLOST.
What are 21st Century learning commons?
Explain what is proposed at Jenkins regarding STEM and Coastal Georgia Comprehensive Academy.
A Learning Commons provides a welcoming, flexible, and comfortable common learning space that encourages exploration, creation, and collaboration between students and teachers. These spaces formerly known as libraries or media centers have evolved to meet the needs of today's students.
The proposed new school will be designed with more lab spaces and increased technology to better serve the needs of the STEM program. A separate wing will be constructed to house the 9-12 grade students from Coastal Georgia Comprehensive Academy.
How many school buses is the District planning to purchase?
The proposed plan includes the purchase of approximately 40 school buses. The purchase of additional buses will still be required.
Does the District have an adequate number of drivers?
The District has an adequate number of drivers and is actively pursuing additional drivers for reserve.
Will the proposed bus fleet be equipped with cameras?
Yes, all buses will have cameras and GPS units to help ensure the safety of students.
Has a study been done to anticipate population growth?
Yes, a consulting firm specializing in enrollment projects has completed a student and provided their results. In addition, the State Department of Education provided enrollment projections which are also utilized for planning.
Can the District provide preliminary plans of new schools to the community?
Yes, the preliminary plans for new schools will be shared through a variety of outlets, i.e. websites, public meetings, etc. See ESPLOST III web section of www.sccpss.com.
Will the students from CGCA whom are proposed to be included in the new Jenkins have behavioral concerns?
The students who attend Coastal Georgia Comprehensive Academy (CGCA) have special needs and work from individual plans to address their challenges. The district is committed to ensure all students experience success. The proposed plan for the new Jenkins includes a separate wing for the 9-12 grade students and staff of CGCA which will help support them in accomplishing their goals.
What are the plans for the general population students at Jenkins?
The attendance zone for Jenkins is not changing. All students will be eligible to enroll in STEM focused courses offered at Jenkins.
Where will the replacement Jenkins fall on the priority list if E3 passes?
The schedule (or priority list) for E3 projects has not yet been established. The Board will approve the projects schedule after the November 8th election.
If E3 does not pass, are other funds available for the proposed renovations/new schools?
No, other funding is not currently available.
What is meant by interior upgrades?
Interior upgrades will improve the learning environment for students. They may include floor and/or ceiling replacement, restroom updates, improved lighting or other improvements specific to the needs of an individual school.