Grady voters continue education tax -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Grady voters continue education tax

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

CAIRO,  GA (WALB) -  As voters approved an extension of the sales tax, the superintendent and school leaders told us why that revenue is so important for students.

The current one-percent education SPLOST ends next June 30th. Now, a new one will take effect the next day and raise millions of dollars for schools over five years. School officials have many projects in store for the schools, and guarantee not to let Tuesday's voters down.

The Grady County Board of Education's SPLOST has a clear purpose. "We are committed to paying off debt," said Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis.

By 2015 the board anticipates paying off the existing debt of $6.7 million. They also plan on using the money to purchase buses, equipment, and text books.

"With the economic situation and cuts from the state, we want our children to still have the basics they need," said Pharis.

Other projects include enhancing classroom technology, and expanding the Cairo High School Vocational Center. They even plan to invest nearly $4 million in Southside Elementary School, the only school in the county that hasn't been renovated since the 80's.

"The building is old when  I came to school here, it was built in 1922," said Cheryl Harrison Principal of Southside Elementary. "It needs a lot of updates."

Ask, and you shall receive. On Tuesday, 654 people, or 76% of the voters, checked yes in favor of the one-percent sales tax.

School officials are thankful, that even during a tough economy, the community puts children first, and votes in confidence of the board's planning.

"The board of education has demonstrated it is fiscally responsible. They focus on quality while remaining fiscal responsibility."

The five-year SPLOST should generate $12 million, which will pay off debt and benefit tomorrow's leaders.

The superintendent says the SPLOST will take the pressure off the local property tax payers.

They don't anticipate having to increase the millage rate. 

The SPLOST money will be used for the following projects-

  • Payment of existing debt in the maximum amount of $6,700,000.00
  • Purchase buses, equipment and text books in the maximum amount of $2,350,000.00
  • Acquisition of classroom technology to include networking, network infrastructure and administrative systems in the maximum amount of $500,000.00
  • Southside Elementary School to include renovations and modifications of buildings, including roof, fire safety system, restrooms, classrooms, refurbish plumbing, electric and HVAC system in the maximum amount of $3,950,000.00
  • Cairo High School to include renovation of vocational and vocational agricultural buildings in the maximum amount of $1,500,000.00


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