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Voters approve 1 percent sales tax for Fulton County Schools

District expects measure will bring in $1.2 billion

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ATLANTA, Ga. — Voters in Fulton County overwhelmingly approved a five-year extension of the education sales tax through June 2027, continuing the funding mechanism used by school districts since 1997.

The education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax adds a 1 percent tax to every purchase made in Fulton County. Proceeds from the e-SPLOST are divided between the Fulton County School System and Atlanta City Schools based on enrollment.

“We want to thank the voters in Fulton County for their continued support of our schools,” Fulton School Board President Julia Bernath said. “Through solid financial stewardship of past e-SPLOSTs, our board has been able to invest in both buildings and technology, stay committed to the lowest millage rate in the metro area, and pay off all long-term capital debt.”

Prior to the state approval of e-SPLOST in 1997, school districts primarily funded new school construction and other capital projects through millage rate increases or bonds.

Over the next five-year cycle for e-SPLOST beginning in July 2022, Fulton County Schools is expected to receive nearly $1.2 billion in tax revenues. These revenues will fund a long list of projects, with most going directly into school buildings for facility improvements and needed maintenance.

Other line items include technology, transportation, and safety and security projects. Only projects presented and approved by voters as part of the e-SPLOST referendum can be funded in the current cycle.

By state law, e-SPLOST “sunsets” after five years and can only be continued by voter approval. The Nov. 2 election was the sixth time the e-SPLOST has appeared on the ballot.

The current e-SPLOST, known as e-SPLOST5, will “sunset” on June 30, 2022, after raising nearly $980 million for the Fulton County School System over the past five years.

Notable projects completed through e-SPLOST5 include the newly opened Fulton Innovation Academy in downtown Alpharetta, enhanced safety and security measures at every school and the payoff of the final construction bond held by the district.

The 70 percent approval rate for e-SPLOST6 was down significantly from the last initiative in 2016 when nearly 80 percent of voters supported the measure.

“Our school community has been through so much during the pandemic,” Bernath said. “We are grateful for their commitment to the future capital needs of our students and staff.”

Candy Waylock is an award winning education reporter who has covered all things education for Appen Media over the past 20 years. She is an Alpharetta resident.

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