Chatham County residents overwhelmingly vote to continue ESPLOST penny tax

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Chatham County residents overwhelming voted in support to continue the ESPLOST referendum — a penny tax to benefit Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS). Seventy-four percent of voters supported the referendum and those against it scavenged nearly 26%.

The ESPLOST will provide renovations — such as HVAC system and roofing replacements, upgrades to athletic facilities and basic interior renovations to security, technology and transportation for more than 20 schools. Also included is the construction of a new Windsor Forest High School.

The referendum is not new, in fact, it’s a continuation of a 2006 penny sales tax. Forty percent of the sales tax comes from visitors to Chatham County.

In the past 15 years, ESPLOST has generated more than a billion for local schools.

Local faith leaders gathered in front of the Savannah Chatham County Board of Education last week in support of passing ESPLOST. They pointed to how its funding allowed the district to save money from the general fund and put it towards improvements to the curriculum, further helping increase graduation rates in Chatham County Schools.

“We can’t say enough about graduation rates. 90.1% whereas the state’s graduation percentage is at 81% and nationally its 86%,” says Pastor Thurmond N. Tillman, First African Baptist Church. “So we are doing better in Savannah Chatham County Public School System.”

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