Voters vote "Yes" for ESPLOST in Baker County

Voters vote "Yes" for ESPLOST in Baker County
Tracy Barber, Parent Involvement Coordinator and Mentor
Tracy Barber, Parent Involvement Coordinator and Mentor

BAKER CO., GA (WALB) - Baker County Schools will soon see some upgrades thanks to voters. An education SPLOST referendum passed Tuesday night with 57% of the vote.

Students in Baker County will see some major improvements inside and outside of the classroom next year thanks to the passage of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. It's a vote School Superintendent and Principal Dr. Torrance Choates is thankful for.

"If this ESPLOST had not passed, the Board of Education would've had the difficult decision of wondering whether or not to increase the millage rate," said Dr. Torrance Choates, Principal and Superintendent. "Which would then increase property taxes. So, I want to thank those voters."

Last November, an ESPLOST referendum failed by 23 votes, so Dr. Choates and the Baker County School Board took the initiative to educate voters on its importance.

"We put out a fact brochure that we sent to the entire community," said Dr. Choates.

"The voters choosing to accept ESPLOST was a great win, not just for Baker County and the community but for the students as well," said Tracy Barber, Parent Involvement Coordinator and Mentor.

Choates says over 5 years, the ESPLOST will generate $1.4 million dollars. The school system plans to purchase new buses, update books in the media center and place new technology in the classroom.

"We are looking at technology, we want to put IPADS throughout the school," said Dr. Choates.

"We want to make sure that our children are academically ready and ready for college and in order to do that we want to make sure certain things are in place within the school system," said Barber.

School officials will discuss their ESPLOST plans at their next board meeting on November 20th.

Choates expects the system will receive the first of the money in mid-April to purchase items for next school year.

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