Hart County Schools ESPLOST V
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an Education SPLOST (ESPLOST)?
An Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) allows local school districts the option to ask voters for the ability to levy and to collect a one percent sales tax to help fund school 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.
- When is the ESPLOST vote?
The election is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be an early voting period and advance voting as designated by the Elections Board.
- Would the proposed ESPLOST be a tax increase?
NO! If approved, the sales tax for education would remain at its current level. An approval would simply continue the current 1% sales tax for education an additional five years or until ESPLOST funds ($15.5 million) are collected, whichever comes first. Collection of the ESPLOST extension would begin only after the current ESPLOST ends on December 31, 2019.
- Why an ESPLOST?
The education SPLOST is not a property tax. It provides a method of funding the cost of educational improvements in which everyone, not just property owners, contributes. Additionally, the sales tax is paid by everyone who shops or stays in Hart County.
- How much money would be generated and how long would this sales tax be in place?
It is estimated that an ESPLOST continuation would produce $15.5 million over the 60 month period.
- Why should people who do not have children in school support the ESPLOST extension?
The ESPLOST helps keep property 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. High performing schools mean well-prepared citizens, a strong labor market, and an inviting atmosphere for both 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 school system?”
- Will the school system sell bonds or incur long term debt during the ESPLOST extension?
Yes and No. Yes, we will sell a 5 million dollar bond to produce the funds necessary to begin construction on the middle school during the summer of 2019. The bond will be paid off before the end of the 60 month period.
No, Hart County Board of Education is committed to pay as you go for all other projects and will not incur long term debt and all projects associated with ESPLOST V will b be fully paid at the end of 60 months.
- Why isn’t the money used for salaries and operations cost?
State law prohibits using ESPLOST proceeds for salaries or instructional materials. However, passing this referendum will free up funds to meet required financial obligations without having to rely on excessive ad valorem taxes.
- Why do we need to extend our current ESPLOST?
ESPLOST needs were generated from the systems 5 Year Facility Plan that is approved by the state of Georgia. As part of the 5 Year Facility Plan and the system’s replacement schedule, the school system needs to move forward with facility improvements and equipment replacement. A continuation of ESPLOST would allow the system to implement our plan without adjusting property taxes.
- Has the current ESPLOST been a success?
YES! The following projects have been completed with zero debt as a result of the current ESPLOST:
- New high school gym
- Hart College and Career Academy
- High School/ Community Agriculture Center
- What would the school system do with the funds collected from the ESPLOST extension?
The Hart County Board of Education in cooperation with employee and stakeholder groups have established the following project areas:
- Safety and security improvements ($1 million)
- HCMS renovations and improvements ($2.74 million)
- Technology replacement and upgrades in all schools ($3.1 million)
- School expansion as needed – additional classrooms ($1.7 million)
- HVAC system replacements ($3.8 million)
- Elementary school renovations and improvements ($4.32 million)
ESPLOST V funds would also be used to replace playground equipment, upgrade parking facilities, minor additions to the old gym, and a concession/locker/restroom to be used by track and field, tennis and baseball/softball. ($1.3 million)