By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Your Views: Hall SPLOST vote will ensure a bright future
Placeholder Image

Letters policy: Send by e-mail to (no attached files, please, which can contain viruses); fax to 770-532-0457; mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503; or click here for a form. Include full name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length (limit of 500 words). Letters originating from other sources, those involving personal, business or legal disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter per month, two on a single topic. Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times editorial board.

The upcoming E-SPLOST vote is of great importance to the children of Gainesville and Hall County and the community as a whole. The tax has been one of the most beneficial acts in recent years. Our legislators gave us a wonderful tool to greatly improve school infrastructure.

Before E-SPLOST, Hall County had several hundred trailers to accommodate the ballooning number of students enrolled in our system. Back then, the only way to finance new schools was to sell long-term bonds. We were in great need of space, and we were millions of dollars in debt. We have been paying these bonds off for 12 years and still have several years left before the system is debt free.

Over the past 12 years, we have built 10 schools to keep up with a student population that had grown approximately 800 to 900 students per year until recently. In addition, we invested millions updating older schools. Hall County added additional classroom space and has made every effort to provide a safe classroom setting for every child.

E-SPLOST funds are also allocated toward maintenance of existing infrastructure, capital expenses such as reroofing schools, replacing heating and air systems and repairing septic systems. That allows general funds to be used for student instruction.

We live in a digital age. School systems have spent millions to upgrade technology in our schools but without the continuation of the E-SPLOST dollars, we cannot made additional progress. With shrinking state revenue, we cannot expect the state to foot the bill. It is not fair to further burden property owners.

Without E-SPLOST, I am afraid that our children will not be exposed to the latest technological advances. We will send them out to compete in a digital world without the advantage of an up-to-date education. This generation has been exposed to technology from birth so it is essential that cutting-edge technology keep them engaged.

The future of any society or community is in direct correlation with the education its children receive. In the new world economy, our children will compete with children around the globe. Hall County has some of the best and brightest children that you can find anywhere. Though we live in troubling economic times, children are our hope for the future.

I know everyone feels we are constantly taxed. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but I believe the education SPLOST is one of the best bangs for your buck you can get. If there is such a thing as a fair tax, it would be at the top of the list. E-SPLOST is funded by anyone who spends money in this county, visitors and residents alike.

I had the privilege of serving on the Hall County School Board for 12 years. I feel that the people I served and worked with made every effort to be wise and prudent with taxpayers' dollars.

Please carefully consider voting in favor of E-SPLOST so we can continue to give our schools the resources to provide a top quality education for our children.

I have always been proud to be from Hall County; in my opinion, it is one of the best places to live in the state and the country. Let us go forward to a better and brighter future.

Richard Higgins