DCSS E-SPLOST approved for November election ballot

The DCSS E-SPLOST would help fund the completion of high school renovations

The final collection for Dougherty County's Education SPLOST â" or Special Local Option Sales Tax â" will be September of next year.

After the Board of Elections unanimously approved the E-SPLOST renewal to be on November's election ballot, the school system is now counting on the voters.

By placing the E-SPLOST on this year's election ballot, the school system is saving money for voters by splitting election day costs with the city.

"This was a convenient time, November the 8th, the city was already having an election so the board felt like they could put their projects together -- which they did -- and put it on the ballot for approval by the public," says Dougherty County School System Attorney Tommy Coleman.

The school system and school board is already preparing a project list for the $100 million they have included on the E-SPLOST referendum.

"That will come in over a five year period, so roughly $20 million dollars a year. We'll probably collect slightly less than that," says Robert Lloyd, DCSS Executive Director of Finances and Business Operations. "What we've been trying to do is get our plans in place so as soon as the money starts rolling in, we can start on the schemes we're planning to go forward with and complete them in the five year cycle,"

If the public votes in favor of E-SPLOST come November, the school system will them use loaned money in the amount of $40 million to begin work on some of the planned projects instead of waiting halfway through the year for E-SPLOST funds to kick in.

So what does this $100 million for Dougherty County's third Educational SPLOST fund?

For starters, some money will go towards completing renovations at DCSS high schools.

"They've only half finished the renovations in each of the four high schools," says Lloyd.

Following E-SPLOST funds, Phase Two of renovations would begin at Dougherty High School, Monroe High School, Albany High School and finally Westover High School.

Along with other renovations, a new school building could be on the horizon.

"We don't have a suitable building for a career center so maybe we build a Career Center," says Lloyd.

Coleman says new buildings, much like the future Career Center, may not have been possible in the past without E-SPLOST funds.

"We've had the SPLOST for a pretty good while now and that's the reason we have beautiful new schools, so that's what it's financed along with other kinds of capital improvement projects," says Coleman.

The E-SPLOST 3 â" also known as the Sales Tax for Educational Progress (STEP) â" is not a new tax; it is a continuation of funds the school system already receives through the penny sales tax.