Voters will soon decide if the Thomaston-Upson County School Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for educational purposes will pass.
The Thomaston-Upson School Board's proposed SPLOST will generate $12 million compared to the last SPLOST, which generated $8 million. Voters head to the polls Tuesday, March 21. Voting precincts in each district will be open.
The $12 million will be used for capital outlay projects including, technology, school buses, community pool partnership, and school improvements.
“This SPLOST sets the stage for the school system,” said Thomaston-Upson School Superintendent Dr. Howard Hendley. “Especially in the terms of if we are able to purchase property and things like that. If we are going to address the size of our schools and try to reduce traffic in a realistic way, it all hinges on the SPLOST.”
Hendley said he hopes those who oppose the proposed SPLOST will look at the list of projects.
“I hope people can see how this will positively affect the children,” he said. “This is a way to enhance the lives of boys and girls. When I look at the list I may not have had a child in that particular activity, but you have to look beyond that point. You have to see what this will do for the children in our school system. The future of our school system affects the future of the community.”
A few SPLOST projects include, about $1 million for technology, about $1.8 million for a new 7,000 square feet bus barn, about $1 million in renovations at the middle school, about $250,000 to renovate Holston gym, and $500,000 partnership with the community pool.
Assistant Superintendent Ronnie Lowe said he is hopeful this SPLOST will pass.
“We promised the people that we wouldn't turn around and start another SPLOST right a way after it ended,” he said. “And we did that. We did exactly what we said we would.
“I think if we would have turned right back around and asked for another one it wouldn't have passed. I am not sure I would have voted on it because we wouldn't have been doing what we said we would. I am hopeful that this SPLOST will pass.”
Hendley said it wouldn't be “gloom and doom” if the SPLOST isn't passed, but that it would cause a strain.
“If this isn't passed it will stretch resources very thin,” Hendley said. “This would bring $12 million into our school system that could do a lot of things for the children. We are going to have to do these projects one way or the other. A highlight of the SPLOST is that it will allow us to plan for the future.
“If it's not passed, plans for the future will have to be put on hold. Those kind of discussions such as addressing the size of our schools will be put on hold because it would take so long to accrue money through property tax.”
Hendley said he hopes voters will think about the SPLOST over the weekend.
“I just ask voters to look at the issues and think about how it could enhance the children in our school system,” he said. “We have a limited way of attaining resources. Two ways are sales sac and property tax. This is a chance for the voters to tell us what tax they prefer.”
Voters will make the final decision March 21; it may prove to be a tough test for the Thomaston-Upson School System.