Forsyth Voting on $29 Million Education Penny Tax

7:27 AM, Mar 14, 2013   |    comments
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Voters will decide whether to approve the education local option sales tax or ELOST that would take effect after the current one expires in 2014.

Voting is currently underway and will end March 19. Cast ballots at the Monroe County annex building from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"When people vote for this one penny sales tax, if they just consider the name BART, B-A-R-T. That's buses and transportation, arts and ag, repairs and maintenance, and technology," says Truett Goodwin, the Cultural and Academic Supporters of Excellence, or CASE, chair. 

It's a group that supports the ELOST.

The ELOST will last until the $29 million is raised or at the end of 5 years. Of that, 25 percent will be used for a fine arts building and animal science building.

"When the elementary schools do their performance, students, teachers and parents have to stand. There's just not enough room," says Percell Kelley the CASE treasurer.

To put on plays and productions, students use an auditorium that was built in the 1950's. It seats about 300 people, or they use the Roberts Chapel at Tift College. That seats about 400.

That's compared to the new 33,000 sq. ft. building that will seat 1,221 seats.

75-percent of the change collected will be used for the B-R-T portion of BART. That's buses, repairs, and technology. 

Even if the ELOST does not pass, schools will have have to make some cuts to pay for the upgrades.

"Right now 88-percent of the school budget goes for personnel. 72-percent of that is direct construction. You do the math and you're looking at teachers," says Goodwin.

For Goodwin, passing the ELOST is part of a personal investment.

"I have two granddaughters currently in the public system and a grandson that will be there in two years," he says.

If the ELOST passes, construction will begin right after football season.

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