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Opinion: Property owners should support school referendums
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Riverbend Elementary - photo by Scott Rogers

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, I will proudly cast my vote in favor of both the E-SPLOST renewal and the school bond referendums.

Many school buildings in our community are more than 60 years old and have serious infrastructure issues that can no longer be patched with Band-Aid fixes. Several electrical, plumbing and structural systems have simply outlasted their life spans. They are draining maintenance budgets and are disrupting the educational environment for many students.

The E-SPLOST is not a new tax. It has been in place for nearly 25 years and has enabled our school systems to keep up with growth without issuing long-term debt, to be borne solely by property owners. E-SPLOST is the fairest method of taxation and relieves property owners of bearing the full burden of funding public schools. Compare Hall County Schools’ long-term debt, of which there is none, to that of its neighboring school systems. Hall County’s absence of long-term debt is an anomaly among Georgia’s public school districts.

As a conservative, the consolidation and replacement of several small, old and inefficient schools makes the most sense when asking our leaders to provide us with the most return on our tax dollars. Not only would the newer schools take advantage of economies of scale and save tax dollars by combining resources, students would also be given more unique programming opportunities. After all, shouldn’t our main priority be to provide quality educational programming for as many students as possible?

We have been good stewards of our community’s resources, but now with historically low interest rates, it is time to invest in our infrastructure and our young people.

Being a lifelong resident of Hall County and a product of our community’s public school systems, I would ask everyone to consider the facts, not rumors, surrounding these referendums and join me in voting “yes” to both questions.

Jacob Gee

Hall County SPLOST Citizen Review Committee member, Gainesville

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