Voters to decide Education SPLOST on Tuesday ballot

Henry County voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, March 16, to decide the fate of education SPLOST VI. Education SPLOST is a one-cent local sales tax governed by Henry County Schools for the sole purpose of capital projects. SPLOST collections cannot go towards staff salaries or operations, and must be accounted for separate from the general fund.

When education SPLOST last appeared on the ballot, the question passed with 62% yes. But now, extremely low turnout could affect the outcome. Five years ago, 48,204 voters weighed in. Following the close of early voting this week, 2,357 voters had cast their ballots.

Voters can verify their polling place through the state’s My Voter Page. All regular polling places will be open from 7 am to 7 pm on Tuesday. Anyone in line before 7 pm will be able to vote.

About the Projects

Nearly half of the proposed $325 million dollar program is in new schools & additions. The projects construct new classrooms, where needed, following the recommendations of a recent classroom capacity and utilization study. The district hired an outside firm to conduct the study during the 2019–20 school year.

The district built a limited number of new classrooms in the past ten years. Instead, every school in the district received renovations. During this time, new schools constructed were Hampton High School, McDonough High School and McDonough Middle School. In addition, the new multipurpose gym at each high school added a few extra classrooms each. The final group of second gyms will be complete this summer.

School Security & Access Control

There are two projects planned at every school. The first is a new security access control system. The system requires key card access for staff to access the building. All others must be buzzed in by front office staff.

The district piloted the system at McDonough High School and McDonough Middle School — the county’s newest school buildings. Installation will start at other schools this summer if E-SPLOST VI passes. All schools would be on the new security system before the 2022–2023 school year.

Second, every school would receive a new digital message board. This will replace the existing marquee at the school entrance. The pilot sign is under construction now at the Academy for Advanced Studies. Sign construction would start in summer 2022 and last two years.

Other Projects

Other projects include the following:

  • buying 125 new school buses and building a second bus repair garage,
  • school maintenance, such as roof replacements, HVAC upgrades, fire alarm updates and intercom repairs,
  • building an addition to the district office in McDonough, freeing up classroom space presently used for offices, and
  • replacing and updating student and teacher devices.

A list of projects at each school is available on the school district website.

Exit Poll

Because I don’t have the resources to conduct a traditional exit poll, I am asking for your feedback now. Unlike some of my other surveys, you won’t be able to see the responses immediately. Instead, I will use the info after Tuesday’s election.

Please consider filling out the brief survey below.

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