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7 things the next education sales tax would fund in Hall
Meetings set at each high school to discuss SPLOST V
HallSchoolOffice

E-SPLOST meeting schedule

• 4:15 p.m. Sept. 29, Chestatee High School theater

• 4:15 p.m. Sept. 30, West Hall High School cafeteria

• 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Johnson High School Performing Arts Center

• 4:15 p.m. Oct. 5, East Hall High School cafeteria

• 4:15 p.m. Oct. 6, North Hall High School media center

• 4:30 p.m. Oct. 7, Flowery Branch High School theater

The Hall County School District has set spending priorities for the next sales tax for education and scheduled meetings to discuss those priorities.

A vote will be held Nov. 3 on the special purpose local option sales tax for education V, which is anticipated to raise $110 million-$140 million if approved.

Hall school leaders hopes to spend that money on the following:

1. New classroom space, $30-50 million

Hall school officials have said a new school is needed in the south portion of the county, and  Superintendent Will Schofield said congestion in the Johnson High School or Flowery Branch High School zones, likely at the middle school level, is the No. 1 priority in the district’s need for the tax.

2. Renovation of existing facilities, $30-100 million

Gordon Higgins, director of communications and athletics, said the “renovations of existing facilities” include primarily two things.

“The primary renovations, as far as upgrades to existing facilities, is going to be replacement of HVAC, or the heating and cooling units for the schools, and new roofs,” Higgins said.

Schofield said roof replacements are done in order of necessity. A roof replacement can cost as much as $3 million, depending on the size of the school. New heating and air systems can cost as much as $4 million.

“It’s a renovation that just has to happen periodically,” Higgins said. “Roofs wear out over time. So do HVAC units.”

3. Student technology and related infrastructure, $20-30 million

The school district has installed audio/visual interactive wireless projectors in 720 classrooms, but has about 1,300 to go, according to Aaron Turpin, executive director of technology. Turpin would also like to install these devices in two more middle school gyms, as well as buy student devices and add technology to media centers.

4. Fine arts facility improvements at East Hall, Johnson and West Hall high schools, $12-20 million

Matt Cox, director of facilities and construction, said the school district would like schools to have the same level of facilities, and for that to happen, these high schools would likely need new fine arts facilities. Higgins said of the three fine arts facilities that need updating, East Hall High School’s is scheduled to be improved next. Cox said the district will prioritize other projects and continue improvements depending on how much money is still available.

5. New school buses, $4-8 million

The school system’s fleet of buses must be maintained, with replacements ready for older buses needing to be taken out of service. New students are also added each year, sometimes requiring new buses.

6. School library collections, $2-4 million

Additions to library collections mean more than just purchasing books.

“It could pertain to electronic resources, as well,” Higgins said. “Typically, when we think of library and media collections, we are thinking specifically of printed books. It could pertain to electronic resources, as well.”

7. Large band instruments, $1-3 million

The school district has some instruments available for students who take band class. Higgins said older instruments sometimes need to be upgraded, and depending on the popularity of band at certain schools, sometimes new instruments are needed.

A series of meetings beginning next week at local high schools will allow for questions and comments on the spending priorities and will provide a history of how past sales tax funds have been used.

These expenditures will be “significantly affected by student enrollment patterns, which have been difficult to anticipate in the years following the ‘Great Recession,’” according to a press release from the school district.

Schofield said he can and will visit community meetings to answer questions and share what the sales tax has done and could continue to do in the school district.

“I’m pretty proud of what that penny has done here,” he said.

“We think we have a real obligation to let people know where their money has been spent in the past,” Schofield said. “And we think one of the most effective ways to reach the people of this county is through the World Wide Web.”

 

E-SPLOST meeting schedule

• 4:15 p.m. Sept. 29, Chestatee High School theater

• 4:15 p.m. Sept. 30, West Hall High School cafeteria

• 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Johnson High School Performing Arts Center

• 4:15 p.m. Oct. 5, East Hall High School cafeteria

• 4:15 p.m. Oct. 6, North Hall High School media center

• 4:30 p.m. Oct. 7, Flowery Branch High School theater

View a video presentation on the topic.

Quick review from Hall County School District of ESPLOST I-IV and priorities for ESPLOST V

This story will be updated with more details on spending priorities. 

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