Ed-SPLOST showdown ends Tuesday
by Lindsay Field
March 18, 2013 12:19 AM | 3619 views | 25 25 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cobb and Marietta school districts should know sometime before midnight Tuesday if local voters support their receiving a combined $773.3 million in SPLOST IV funds.

Both school districts’ boards approved a SPLOST IV vote and put their project lists before voters last fall.

If approved, the 1-cent sales tax would be collected between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2018, and would be the fourth round of SPLOST funding the school districts have received since 1998.

Polls are not open today, but all 153 Cobb precincts will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Two voting locations have changed:

Residents who previously voted at Community Bible Church now will vote at Chalker Elementary School, 325 North Booth Road, Kennesaw. The John Knox Presbyterian Church site has been changed to the East Marietta Library, 2051 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta.

The following locations will be changed for the Tuesday, March 19 vote only:

* Martha Moore Education Center changed to Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw.

* Northeast Cobb YMCA changed to Hightower Trail Middle School, 3905 Post Oak Tritt Road, Marietta.

* Towne View Baptist Church changed to Christ Episcopal Church, 1210 Wooten Lake Road NW, Kennesaw.

* Wildwood Baptist Church changed to Pitner Elementary School, 4575 Wade Green Road, Acworth.

To find out more information about where to vote, visit the state’s voter web page at sos.ga.gov, or for a copy of the ballot, visit cobbelections.org.

The Cobb County School District is asking for voters to approve a $717.8 million list that includes a $39.9 million rebuild of Walton High School, two replacement elementary schools for $23.3 million each, a $29.8 million career academy, $29.9 million Osborne High School rebuild and an east Cobb area middle school replacement at a cost of $29.1 million.

Marietta City Schools’ $55.4 million list includes paying off $15.2 million in debt, $16 million in technology upgrades, $20 million toward construction, modifications, renovations and equipment and $2 million for transportation.

For detailed copies of each district’s SPLOST IV project list, visit cobbk12.org and marietta-city.org.
Comments
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What about me?
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March 19, 2013
I send my kids to private school.

I pay property taxes for schools and now this disaster tax.

Where are my tax breaks or credits?

For my public school tax dollars - the Principal at the elementary school where my kids would have gone, said all incoming kindergarten kids are in the same classes. No separation for those who could speak English or not. Social Security card? Not an issue.

For me, paying for something I will not use is senseless. Give me my voucher!
Just Sayin'....
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March 18, 2013
The robo calls for the SPLOST are using scare tactics. SPLOST has ZERO to do with teacher's salaries. We have already done a number on our teachers over the last few years and hardly anyone complains. However, if we are not going to be able to build anymore, everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

Here is what no one wants to say. We have not been able to cover general fund expenditures for several years now without declaring excess funds from SPLOST. In essence, we are beyond broke. We take from the SPLOST to try to make ends meet, but if suddenly SPLOST was gone, we would have to admit we were broke. Taxes are going to have to go up statewide as the legislature has realized we cannot exist at the present levels. Their forecast is looking at cuts for the next four to five years, with no spending being restored until that point or beyond. Once they raise taxes, and they will, we will be stuck with the SPLOST and higher taxes. In the meantime, we will RIF more teachers and add more furlough days, and cut more classroom time BUT continue to build gyms, theaters, replacement schools. It simply makes NO sense.
@ Just Sayin'
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March 18, 2013
Here's a very simple example of how SPLOST does impact teachers' salaries.

The district needs to buy a new bus.

Previously, that bus was paid by SPLOST.

Should SPLOST not be renewed, that needed bus will now be paid out of the General Fund (i.e. operations budget) which just happens to be the same fund from which teachers are paid.

What's a few hundred thousand among friends?

Imagine it's now 40 buses, thousands of textbooks, new air conditioners, roof replacements, printers, copiers, technology items, etc... and it's clear SPLOST does have an impact on teachers' salaries.

Every dollar spent on capital that is not funded by SPLOST will come from the operating budget.

Failure to renew SPLOST will result in:

- Larger classroom student counts

- Fewer teachers

- More furlough days
Andy...
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March 18, 2013
Well actually the more money the school system is able to defer expenditures to operational and maintenance costs, the less they will have for teacher's salaries which must come out of the general budget.
Veteran Observer
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March 18, 2013
Folks, it is very simple. If you want to live in a great community with good schools, vote for the renewal of this tax! If it doesn't pass, the districts will have to fall back on already depleted property taxes from the general fund to make school capital improvements. At that point, the only alternative the boards have is to raise property taxes! Both school districts have done an outstanding job of managing our tax revenues and have been completely transparent in their expenditures. Our schools have good facilities and good programming and have helped maintain and stabilize our property values! Vote yes so we do not have a property tax increase and we continue to enjoy a higher quality of life than some of our neighbors(see Dekalb and Clayton)!
David Staples
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March 18, 2013
We know that tomorrow we should expect roughly 10% of the registered voters in Cobb to cast their vote. That's approximately 42,000 total votes out of the roughly 420,000 registered voters in Cobb. So if the SPLOST tomorrow is approved and it's a very close vote, as is expected, then roughly 21,000 people, or 3 percent of the county's 700,000 residents, are placing this tax on the entire county. This vote should have been held this past November when we know a much larger percentage of the voters will be casting votes.
voteifyoucare
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March 18, 2013
To David Staples, cry me a river on when the election is held. If people care, and I mean really, really CARE, they will take time out of their schedules to cast their vote. They also could've cast an absentee vote or done advanced voting. Your whining is baseless.
anonymous
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March 18, 2013
Is anyone denying someone the right to vote? NO. People who show up to vote are informed about the benefits and/or negatives of SPLOST IV. The ones who dont take the time to vote- either don't care or have not informed themselves. With early voting these days, there is no excuse! Stop whining and go vote!!!
History Review
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March 18, 2013
SPLOST I & SPLOST II were approved via September votes. Several new schools and additions were completed. More than $200 MM in debt was paid off.

Seems like a good thing since it addressed Cobb's growth and made it debt free.

The Sept. 2008 SPLOST III vote delivered hundreds of new classrooms. It replaced East Side and Mableton elementary. It built the new Clarkdale and Smyrna elementary schools. It led to major needed renovations at Wheeler among other schools throughout the district.

Seems like "interested" registered voters, or otherwise, got it right.

Bottom line – get to the polls. Be informed and exercise your right to vote.

Readmopaper
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March 18, 2013
Many, many people won't even know there is an election. It doesn't mean they don't care, it means they don't get a lot of input. It isn't on TV every night and people don't discuss at work like they do national elections. Modern lives are very busy. An election on a March date is plainly a well understood plan to disenfranchise voters. Voters in the "food chain" for tax money are going to be kept well informed on when to vote and how to vote.
WalterD
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March 18, 2013
I question why Walton needs to be rebuilt while Wheeler is trailer city and is much older and more rundown than Walton. Location? Tax Base? Demographics?
@ WalterD
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March 18, 2013
What planet are you living on?

Can't have you completely missed the new school construction at Wheeler during the past two years which will result in the removal of all trailers there?
anonymous
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March 18, 2013
Location Location Location East Snob Cobb
HA!!
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March 18, 2013
WalterD - get back in bed, and let the big boys take charge. You clearly have not woken up yet.
classroom teacher.
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March 18, 2013
I received a robo call supporting the Ed SPLOST last night. Got to admit, it made a lot of sense how how there even be less money for teacher's salaries if the county has to pay for upgrades out of the General fund. I am now voting for the Ed-SPLOST.
David Staples
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March 18, 2013
Where do you think the money is going to come from to operate the new gymnasiums and theaters that would be built by this SPLOST? It has to come out of the general budget. Perhaps you may not mind an extra furlough day or two to pay for the maintenance and operations of these new buildings, but your fellow teachers might.
AmericanMale
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March 18, 2013
@David Staples- New gyms and other classrooms are needed for one of two reasons: Gyms that are too small to accommodate the current number of students or Gyms that are so old and inefficient to operate that it's actually cheaper to just start over, building a new one.

In both cases, the new square footage is either necessary to properly serve the students and/or REDUCE operating costs borne by the general fund.

The facility that was replaced is either demolished or sold. The net increase in square footage is only what is actually needed!
@ David Staples
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March 18, 2013
It's called EFFICIENCY... One has to wonder if this mindset led to your election result during your candidacy for Public Service Commission.

Look it up... Maintenance and Operation of Plant expenditures at the Cobb district have actually fallen approximately $4.0 million since 2009 after the addition of new schools and several additions with SPLOST III projects.
City Representation
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March 18, 2013
How is it legal to mix County votes and City votes for taxes but for something so trivial as Sunday Sales, mixing was illegal?

If Cobb votes yes but Marietta votes No, and this sales tax is re-implemented county wide including No-voting Marietta, does Marietta end up being taxed legitimately or Legitimately something else'd?

Where is the good reverend whose hackles were raised by the Sunday Sales issue supposedly for "constitutional" reasons? Why is he silent now?
Mary G1
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March 18, 2013
Because you don't know your recent history. The county voted on alcohol sales, without Marietta City participation. Marietta City residents pay county taxes. Marietta City voted once as a City and also as part of the county.
readmopaper
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March 18, 2013
County and Marietta votes are not counted separately. There is one aggregate vote total, pass or fail for all.
VFP42
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March 18, 2013
I wonder... Is Big Government D.A. King for SPLOST since it's a tax allowing for more Big Government, or is he against it since Mexicans may attend these schools?

I of course will never vote Yes for a SPLOST that isn't on the fall ballot with everything else. Before this thing is even out of the gate, it's wasting money having an election day calendarized to limit the votes against it.
Flawed Logic
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March 18, 2013
SPLOST passage rates are statistically greater in Nov. elections than Mar.
FROM TEXAS
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March 18, 2013
If Washington keep the borders closed than we won’t need all this and yes George Bush was just as guilty on border security. When unemployment was three percent no one cared about illegals it’s been a problem since Reagan maybe we just each pay an illegal alien tax and solve the problem I’m sure it wouldn’t get even bigger.
Readmopaper
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March 18, 2013
"SPLOST passage rates are statistically greater in Nov. elections than Mar."

This statement is false. Absolutely false. I have the data.

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