On Tuesday, Nov. 8th, voters in Wilcox County face a very important vote affecting the future of our children and our school system. A local referendum is being held to decide whether the school system should be allowed to sell general obligation bonds on the previously approved E-SPLOST for education so the new PK-12 school can be built.
In November 2014, voters overwhelmingly approved to continue the E-SPLOST for another five years. The E-SPLOST already approved by voters will commence on July 1, 2017 and run through June 30, 2021. The upcoming referendum question simply asks voters to decide whether the school system can sell general obligation bonds on the previously approved E-SPLOST and future E-SPLOSTs. If approved, construction on the new PK-12 school can begin in January 2017.
WHY DO WE WANT TO BUILD A NEW SCHOOL?
Wilcox County High School was built in 1965 and is 51 years old. Wilcox Elementary School and Wilcox Middle School were built in 1995 and 1996 respectively and are now over 20 years old. The school system explored the option of simply building a new high school but realized that constructing a new PK-12 school was more cost effective and would save tax payers money over time.
WHEN WILL THE NEW PK-12 SCHOOL BE BUILT?
Construction on the new school is expected to begin in January 2017 and last for the next 18 months. The projected move in date for the new school is August 2018.
HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST?
The new PK-12 school is estimated to cost $28 million based on todaVs estimates.
HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR A NEW SCHOOL?
E-SPLOST funds will be used in conjunction with state monies to fund the new school. The school system has been approved to receive $22,810,297 in state funding for the new school. The balance of $5,189,703 needed for the new school will be paid using E-SPLOST funds. Therefore, the Georgia Department of Education will be paying for approximately 82% of the cost of the new school and the remaining costs will be funded by the one cent local option sales tax for education or E-SPLOST.
HOW MUCH MONEY DOES OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM CURRENTLY RECEIVE FROM E-SPLOST?
E-SPLOST generates approximately $30,000 monthly or $360,000 annually.
WHAT IS AN E-SPLOST?
An E-SPLOST is a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax specifically for education. A one cent sales tax on all retail sales in Wilcox County makes up the school system E-SPLOST. Wilcox County voters have supported a one cent sales tax for education since 1997.
WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF AN E-SPLOST?
The E-SPLOST can pay bond debt and shares the cost of education facilities and equipment with visitors and all citizens—not just property owners. Sales tax offsets property tax and helps keep property taxes stable.
IS THIS A TAX INCREASE?
NO! Wilcox County sales tax will remain at its current level. If approved, the referendum will simply allow the school system to sell bonds on our previously approved E-SPLOST that begins July 1, 2017 and future E-SPLOSTs so funds will be available within the next six months to begin construction on the new PK-12 school.
HAVE PREVIOUS E-SPLOSTS AND BONDS BEEN SUCCESSFUL?
YES! The Wilcox County Board of Education has an incredible record for keeping promises. The school system has had an approved SPLOST for education for over twenty years. Bonds have been sold and successfully repaid on previous E-SPLOSTs WITHOUT raising property taxes.
WHO CAN I CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EDUCATION SPLOST AND THE NEW SCHOOL?
Wilcox County School Superintendent Julie Childers at 229-467-2141 ext. 25 (office) or 229-457-2387 (cell) or WCES School Principal Gary Howell at 229-365-7858 or WCMS/HS Principal Chad Davis at 229-365-7231.