Every penny counts

One-percent tax goes toward upgrades and improvements


Lilly Carter

ESPLOST signs similar to this are posted outside of all Fayette County schools listing the finished school projects ESPLOST II funded. On Nov. 7, a vote will allow the passing for ESPLOST III for further projects and funding to continue.

Ashton Long, Staff Writer

One penny does not seem like much but it can go a long way for Fayette County schools. The penny’s one percent value goes toward expensive projects including school improvements and up-to-date technology allowing for better quality of education throughout classrooms.

¨ESPLOST is an Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax that is dedicated for use by school systems for school facility improvements,” according to the ESPLOST pamphlet. This tax is used for school facility advancements which require a great amount of money and time to fund. A penny pays for renovations, technology upgrades, equipment, school bus purchases, and to retire bond debt– except for salaries and consumable instructional materials due to the state laws for ESPLOST. 

Quality education is pushed throughout all the school systems. ESPLOST allows students to have the latest textbooks and technology equipment to work with inside and outside of their classes.

It would not be possible for the improved quality of education if schools in Georgia did not have the ESPLOST, as stated in the ESPLOST pamphlet. Repairs and refurbishments would take longer and students would miss out on the opportunities to improve learning.

ESPLOST applies to every school in Fayette County, so not every school receives the same school improvement as the other within the same time. Projects are dependent on how long a building has been standing or if technology is outdated.

ESPLOST I collected $97 million in funds which provided a second floor connection and stadium bleachers to McIntosh, a new transportation building, and provided up-to-date lab equipment as well as technology, including security cameras and wireless network upgrades and other infrastructures.

Starr’s Mill utilized the ESPLOST II money to refine the HVAC system and repair the roofs over the summer of 2016 before the new 2016-17 school year. During the 2018 summer break, the school will have renovations made to the walls and floors, and each classroom will receive panels that will allow the teachers to perform more functions on a bigger computer screen. Eventually, Fayette County schools will have tennis courts and new band towers.

On Nov. 7, people including parents and other Fayette County citizens are able to vote for the ESPLOST III to be passed. With the passing of the ESPLOST, projects will continue to enhance the building in addition to 21st century technology used for the high quality of education.

In consonance with the slogan of ESPLOST, “Your pennies made this project possible…”