It’s official: Schools sending SPLOST IV to voters in March
by Lindsay Field
November 14, 2012 01:54 AM | 3895 views | 27 27 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — SPLOST IV will go before Cobb County voters in a March 19, 2013, special election.

On Wednesday, the Cobb school board voted 4-1-1, with Kathleen Angelucci opposing and Alison Bartlett abstaining, to take the proposed sales tax before votes in March.

SPLOST IV will be the only thing on the ballot. The special election should cost Cobb and Marietta school districts about $300,000.

If voters approve the SPLOST, the county district expects to collect about $718 million in the 1 percent sales tax between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2018, and the Marietta district, which approved the special election Tuesday, projects getting around $55 million.

Before casting the lone “no” vote, Angelucci read a multi-page statement about why she opposed moving forward with the vote.

“We need more time to fully assess potential costs to the district that have not been addressed properly or fully thus far,” she said.

Angelucci said there has been no “anecdotal information” provided about the $29 million proposed career academy, specifically transportation, location or maintenance costs.

“The career programs that currently exist that are not fully funded or supported,” she said. “How can we entertain the notion of using the people’s tax monies to construction another building that we as a district will have to maintain and staff when we barely have the funds to maintain and staff what we currently have? Why not invest in implementing career programs in existing schools and properly fund and support them?”

Angelucci also said she couldn’t support something when members of the board’s SPLOST oversight committee didn’t receive their requested information in a timely manner.

“The purpose of the (Facilities and Technology) Committee is to strengthen accountability, when information is not provided to this citizen oversight committee, it is cause for grave concern,” she said.

“With so many uncertainties, I have been left with no choice but to not support a SPLOST IV initiative at this time,” she said to a round of applause.

Bartlett said she abstained from the vote because she will no longer represent west-central Cobb after losing to first-time candidate and Republican Brad Wheeler last week.

“I do not feel that I can hold the system accountable to meet the needs,” she said. “I will be strongly advocating for SPLOST IV because I believe in it. … but I won’t be here to hold them accountable to make sure that the funds, if this passes, are spent appropriately.”

Wheeler will be sworn into office in January.

Cobb’s SPLOST IV notebook of projects includes $175 million for new or replacement facilities; $10 million for land; $130 million for additions or modifications; $179 million for infrastructure and individual school needs; $97 million for safety and support; and $125 million for curriculum, instruction and technology.

The big-ticket items include the career academy, an east Cobb area replacement middle school for $29 million, a new Osborne High School for $30 million, two replacement elementary schools for $23 million each and $40 million in improvements to Walton High School in east Cobb.

Before the meeting, nine of the 11 people who spoke during public comments addressed SPLOST IV, with only one of those saying to approve it or keep it as it is.

Tom Maloy of Powder Springs, a member of the Georgia Tea Party, said his organization opposes the referendum because the March election would “assure a low turnout that will not accurately reflect the will of the people” and because the district created a list of projects to match projected revenue instead of identifying projects and then determining a cost.

“The notebook contains several questionable cosmetic projects whose educational value is not commensurate with their costs,” he said. “The notebook pays no consideration to funding maintenance for the additional infrastructure that is being proposed.”

Maloy also argued that the project list cost projections were “unrealistically high.”

“The $30 million career academy projects leaves many questions answered regarding location, land costs, staffing, transportation of students, etc … and begs the question, do we really need a separate facility to accomplish that which may be done better by existing high schools and area training centers?” he said.

Lance Lamberton of Austell, president of the Cobb Taxpayers Association, echoed many of Maloy’s concerns and said Cobb taxpayers are “SPLOSTed out.”

Kimberley Euston, the school board’s F&T committee chair, urged board members to “slow down the SPLOST train,” saying projects like Walton improvements were “bait to get voters in east Cobb to vote for SPLOST IV.”

Only Patti Morgan of Marietta spoke in favor of the SPLOST.

She said the district has done a “tremendous job” of making the notebook creation project transparent and accessible to the public.

Morgan also defended having the vote in March.

“It’s the public’s responsibility to come out and vote in March,” she said. “We can’t help it if people don’t turn out.”

To review a copy of the SPLOST IV notebook, visit the district’s website at www.cobbk12.org.
Comments
(27)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
I will vote
|
November 21, 2012
against splost after how the board acted by rescinding the far superior balanced calendar. I am so glad we lost 2 of the traditional/sentimental calendar proponents, so glad we elected Mr. Wheeler
Not logical
|
November 28, 2012
One has nothing to do with the other. I agree that the balanced calendar is better. It is fine if you vote against SPLOST, but please be an informed voter. If you oppose SPLOST IV and what it will provide for the district, then vote against it.
D.G. in Clarkdale
|
November 20, 2012
The school system is broken but only because the quality of parents(voters) and students has deteriorated. The school system is just responding to that fact in its curriculum, by pandering and placating the "mob" that's present in that particular jurisdiction. The "people", those who vote or not, have no one to blame but themselves.
SPLOST Medic
|
November 16, 2012
D.O.A.
March Voter
|
November 16, 2012
Okay, at least this article mentions the date of the vote, March 19th. I will be there to vote!
March Voter
|
November 16, 2012
The SPLOST tax has been in effect for well over 10 years. Every time the vote to renew it is a "special" election on a obscure date and scare tactics are used on PTA parents who have children in the school system. Frankly, IMHO, they have gotten to think this a "lock" vote and build their budgest including the tax. It is time they learn to budget their money more effectively, like everyday taxpayers are doing. NO MONEY for empty classrooms, electronic signs announcing every school event and the artificial turf football stadiums (there are NFL teams that still play on regular grass). In my school district one of the elementary classrooms built is home to the Drama Club costumes!!! NO MORE TAXES!!! (Notice that this article mentions March but not the date).
angeluccisupporter
|
November 16, 2012
Kathy A. seems to be the only board member with common sense. Period.
@ angeluccisupporter
|
November 16, 2012
After the board gave the green light for the district to proceed with a half-million dollars of planning and design fees for a Harrison project, Ms. Angelucci voted to throw those funds in the toilet and start over.
angeluccisupporter
|
November 17, 2012
Great quote @angeluccisupporter and exactly why she has common sense, voted to throw those funds in the toilet because the planning and design fees as well as the PROJECT should have been scrapped to begin with. Again, what is it about SPEND,SPEND, SPEND that you don't get????
Get a clue!
|
November 15, 2012
All of the people screaming NO to splost will be the first and loudest ones screaming about why our schools are so much worse than other counties!
Just Sayin'....
|
November 15, 2012
@concerned parent - Throwing money we do not have at the problems we do have will solve nothing. I agree, there are things that are needed, but asking people who will be paying on average an extra $1,900 in federal taxes next year, to add another tax onto that, is not a wise thing to do politically. The report was prepared haphazardly and without much thought about wants and needs. The Board has set it up for failure. Not trying to rain on your parade, just looking at the whole picture.

BTW, the communities you refer to around us pay higher property taxes. Let's raise ours.
anonymous
|
November 15, 2012
The Ed-SPLOST is in effect now. The vote is for continuance, not an addition.

The state caps school tax millage at 20.0 mills. Cobb is at 18.9 mills. One mill is roughly $20 million, so over 5 years you'd have $100 million which is probably close to the budget shortfall for next year alone.

Bottomline - The math doesn't work to close a budget shortfall and address both current and future capital needs.
Just Sayin'....
|
November 16, 2012
@anonymous - The point is this tax goes away. We OPT to bring it back. My guess is it won't be back. I am also perfectly aware that the good folks of Cobb County will not want to raise property taxes. I said that somewhat tongue in cheek. Until we have a leader who steps up and says I'm here for one term and one term only and these are the hard choices, no one will take this bull by the horns. Sad but true.
Watcher...
|
November 15, 2012
The MDJ Headline for March 20, 2013 will read:

CCSD's SPLOST IV Fails Miserably!
concerned parent
|
November 15, 2012
If the posters here and others truly care about Cobb Schools, they and everyone else will vote FOR the continuation of SPLOST. Take a look around at other school systems especially in the metro area. They are far out distancing us in so many ways. Without SPLOST, we will fall further behind and continue a slide into mediocrity. Also, do your homework, look at the data and read the minutes of meetings--both board and F and T. Ms Euston and Ms Angelucci are misguided and incorrect and both are trying to further damage Cobb Schools by their negative comments. Don't be fooled. Pass SPLOST for the benefit of students, teachers, your communities and property values.
Concerned Parent?
|
November 16, 2012
How about 'tax and spend' parent.

David Banks; you're not foolin' anyone! We know it's you - go back to sleep.
ohdear!
|
November 15, 2012
I always vote no in any special election where only one item is on the ballot. The schools will have a shortened day on that special election day so their employees can vote to stack the deck for passage of the SPLOST.
Benjamin Franklin
|
November 15, 2012
a penny saved is a penny earned.

I need to save a few pennies so check back once I've done that.......so no.
Mad Mom
|
November 14, 2012
Friends ~ I understand what you are saying and agree with it. But the money that comes from SPLOST can not pay teacher salaries and help reduce class sizes. It's the governmental and property tax decreases that are to blame for that. SPLOST pays for things like repairs / new HVAC systems, repaving our school driveways and parking lots, replacing windows and doors, replacing worn out flooring, replacing ceiling tiles, paint, replacing plumbing needs, upgrading / repairing computers and other technology equipment and many other items that I would say are "necessities". Yes - I agree - there is a lot of "fluff" in there too. Before you are quick to cast a NO vote, I urge you to head over to your local elementary, middle and high schools. See first hand what is on their SPLOST lists. Talk to the principals and/or teachers and get their perspective on these items. Better yet, talk to the kids who are excited about the possibility of a new gym. Talk to the students who will get a new theater for their band, orchestra, choir and drama group. If we do not pass the SPLOST, our kids are the losers - not the school board or Glover Street gang. With a SPLOST this 1% tax is spread out amongst ALL citizens who purchase items in Cobb County - NOT just the property owners. This means that apartment dwellers and renters who have children in our schools will ALSO help to educate these kids. Just don't make the kids suffer because we have a bunch of idiots on the school board. Take the time to get involved before you say NO to our kids.
oh Please...
|
November 15, 2012
I have gone and seen the schools, in fact, take a look at Lassiter's multimillion dollar theatre, and the astro turf at all the schools. Unfortunately, our school board has mis-spent SPLOST dollars in the past, and it has now come back to bite them. People are tired of the deceit. I think our kids have too much personally. You must be a walton parent. It may pass in the Walton district, but it won't pass elsewhere.
@ oh Please
|
November 15, 2012
Ask the students, families, faculty and community at Osborne High School if they agree with you that they have too much.

Ask the Clarkdale community if they'd like to give up the new school and go back to the flood condemned school.

Ask all of the schools if they want to go back to using an older unsupported operating system.

Ask the Wheeler community if they'd prefer their school the way it was.
David Staples
|
November 15, 2012
talk to the kids who are excited about the possibility of a new gym
say nooooooooo
|
November 14, 2012
Of course, leave it to Banks, Morgan, Sweeney and Crowder Pea to put this to voters and spend hundreds of thousands to do this... Hope voters will be informed, and say NO to the continued spending on stupid things... I will be campaigning AGAINST this splost as will many of my friends and neighbors.
Just Sayin'....
|
November 14, 2012
Memo to the board....this will not pass as is. You have dropped the ball again.
TaxedOutNTiredofit
|
November 14, 2012
While Cobb schools need improvements, it appears that the school board is willing to fire teachers, increase classroom sizes, and keep county staff at the expense of local school staff, and wants more money instead of budgeting what we are already taxed for. In addition, 300k to host a special election could be better used to fund other things, and then Splost could be considered during another election. Time to say no.
anonymous
|
November 14, 2012
Guess you didn't watch the meeting on-line or in person to hear that the election will cost the district regardless of when it is held.

Roughly $270k vs. $250k (March vs. Nov.)
Samuel Adams
|
November 14, 2012
By then we should be well into our second Obama recession and more and more people will be hurting. This will not pass and our schools will have to start over again.

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides