COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School District (MCSD) held its first of 10 informational sessions about projects for the 2020 Education Local Special Option Sales Tax ESPLOST.
Wednesday night’s meeting was held at Jordan Vocational College and Career Academy.
The proposed 2020 ESPLOST will go toward capital improvement projects like updated technology and facilities. The ESPLOST has funded projects like the Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts and the new Spencer High School.
On March 24, Muscogee County voters will decide whether or not to keep the 1 percent, or one penny per dollar ESPLOST.
“It’s no additional tax. It’s just simply asking for a continuation of what’s already in place," said Dr. David Lewis, Muscogee County School District superintendent.
Lewis said the current ESPLOST expires at the end of June and is voted on every five years.
“There’s a project that will benefit every school in the district, all 54 sites, as well as every student," Lewis explained.
These projects include adding coding labs in all elementary schools and improving technology and equipment in all middle and high school classrooms. Classrooms like the one where school board member and retired science teacher, Mike Edmonson, used to teach.
“There’s money in there to get science teachers equipment that they need an probably don’t have because the state never fully funded any of the formulas to get us any of the equipment we need to teach our subjects," Edmonson said.
Lewis said the ESPLOST would also help fund transportation.
“We have over 300 buses in our fleet and over 150 of them are 10 years old or older," said Lewis. “And that’s the average life of a bus. When you look at the state, they allocated us enough money for one and a half buses in one school year.”
$3 million of the $189 million funded by the 2020 ESPLOST would go to a new North Library Branch.
“Our north branch is no longer on the north part of the county when it was first built almost 30 years ago," said Alan Harkness, director of Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.
Other projects include enhancing athletic facilities at the middle school level, funding band and musical instruments, and security and safety.
Building a new building to combine Dawson Elementary School and St. Mary’s Elementary School is also on the proposed list of projects. At Wednesday night’s forum, the school district said they have 25 acres of property at Dawson Elementary School.
If the proposed 2020 ESPLOST passes, it will either last until 2025 or until it funds $189 million worth of projects.
The upcoming community presentations and tours start at 6 p.. Here are the rest of the scheduled ESPLOST community presentations and tours:
Thursday, February 13 St. Mary’s Magnet
Thursday, February 20 Hardaway High
Tuesday, February 25 Arnold Magnet
Tuesday, March 3 Northside High
Thursday, March 5 Mathews Elementary
Tuesday, March 10 Columbus Public Library
Thursday, March 12 Fort Middle
Tuesday, March 17 Gentian Elementary
Thursday, March 19 Shaw High