Groups for and against the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, also known as SPLOST, took to the streets Monday as early voting began in Muscogee County.
"I just want the school board to have an accounting of their expenses and finances. That's the reason I'm voting no today," said early voter Michael Deering.
"It's all about the children and we do need new buildings for our children so I don't have a problem with the one percent sales tax increase because I'd rather pay this tax then a property tax," added Robert Thompson, another early voter.
Those against SPLOST picketed outside the Muscogee County Public Education building Monday morning.
School board members John Thomas and Frank Myers believe the school board needs to be more transparent with the community about how they have spent past funds.
"I believe the more attention that is brought to this issue, the better out chanced we have of winning," Myers said.
YES! For Kids also kicked off early voting with an open house at their headquarters.
Many residents, including city council members and Mayor Theresa Tomlinson, came out to support a yes vote for SPLOST.
"What you invest in your kids is exactly what your workforce will be like," Tomlinson explained.
"It's about the kids and when you talk about the kids you begin to talk about the future of Columbus and where we want to go. It's about moving forward," said Bennie Newroth, Co-chair for the YES! For Kids campaign.
SPLOST will help fund a $34 million system wide upgrade in technology and infrastructure.
The district wants to build a new Spence High School, upgrade Shaw High School and update the districts cafeteria and bus systems.
" I encourage everybody to make an effort to come vote. We will fight to implement the reforms needed to turn this school system around," Myers said.
From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., you can vote early at the Citizens Service Center on Macon Road until March 13, or vote on Saturdays from Feb. 28 and March 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"It's a small price to pay for the great benefits we are going to get out of it," explained Sam Wellborn, Co-chair for the YES! For Kids campaign.
Muscogee County Superintendent Dr. David Lewis is continuing to host public forums to educate the community on the needs of the district.
The next forum will be held Tuesday, February 24 at Northside High School at 6 p.m.