SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Tuesday, Chatham County will take to the polls, but for some, there will be just one thing on the ballot. Whether or not to continue the ESPLOST referendum, a penny sales tax helping benefit Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS).
Local faith leaders gathered in front of the Savannah Chatham County Board of Education Tuesday morning to support the passing of the education special purpose local option sales tax (ESPLOST) in the upcoming November election.
They point to how ESPLOST funding has allowed the district to save money from the general fund, and instead 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%, so we are doing better in Savannah Chatham County Public School System,” says Pastor Thurmond N. Tillman, First African Baptist Church.
If passed, ESPLOST four will provide renovations for over 20 schools, including HVAC system and roofing replacements, upgrades to athletic facilities and basic interior renovations to security, technology and transportation. As well as the construction of a new Windsor Forest High School.
“It’s an opportunity for us to make sure that all of our students from across the district are housed in facilities that can accommodate their needs, making sure that the students and the staff are comfortable in an environment that’s conducive to learning,” said Ms. Miller-Kaigler.
The one percent sales tax created by ESPLOST is not new to Chatham County, but a continuation of the existing penny sales tax that has been in place since 2006. 40% comes from people who don’t even live in the county, but are just here visiting.
“Because Savannah’s such a picturesque and wonderful place, we’re a magnet for visitors. From literally all over the world. We are fortunate because we can take advantage of the influx of folks that come here. Many places have ESPLOST, but they don’t have the attraction that we have,” said Sylvester C. Formey, Chairman of the Building Better Futures for Scholars Committee.
Your opportunity to vote whether or not to continue the ESPLOST referendum is set for election day on Nov. 2. Everyone in Chatham County will have the ability to vote on this matter.