SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County Board of Education has been afforded a pair of revenue streams that will help it navigate the choppy waters of enrollment growth during the next few years.
On June 9, voters overwhelmingly backed a measure that will allow the board to issue up to $100 million in general obligation bonds and a five-year one-percent sales tax (ESPLOST). The referendum, approved 7,689-3,883, said: “Shall the Effingham County School District issue general obligation bonds in a principle amount not to exceed $100,000 million to pay the costs of (1) acquiring, constructing and equipping a new elementary school, a new middle school and a new performing arts center, including the acquisition of real and personal therefor, (b) classroom additions at South Effingham Elementary School, (c) classroom additions at Effingham County High School, including an auxiliary gym and a strength and conditioning facility, (d) classroom additions at South Effingham High School, including a strength and conditioning facility, (e) adding to, remodeling, renovating, improving and equipping existing and new educational buildings, properties, and facilities and acquiring property both real and personal, and equipment necessary therefor, technology improvements, and safety and security improvements, (f) transportation improvements throughout the school district, and (g) financing the costs of issuance of such bonds including any capitalized interests, and shall a one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes be reimposed in Effingham County for a period of time not to exceed 20 consecutive calendar quarters commencing upon the termination of the once percent sales and use tax for educational purposes presently in effect for the raising of not more than $75 million for the purpose of funding the payment of (a) the portion of the principal and interest on the above described general obligation bonds, (b) adding to, remodeling, renovating, improving, and equipping existing and new educational buildings, properties, and facilities and acquiring property, both real and personal, and equipment necessary therefor, technology improvements, and safety and security upgrades, (c) school buses, maintenance vehicles, textbooks (including e-books and other electronic instructional materials), vocational equipment, band equipment, athletic and physical education equipment, athletic tracks and fields including field houses, tennis courts, bleachers, restrooms and concessions, fine arts equipment, media equipment, food service equipment, computers and related technology, security and safety equipment, and HVAC improvements, and (d) a portion of the costs of the above described capital outlay projects not paid for with proceeds from said general obligation bonds?”
Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford, whose district is growing by more than 300 students per year, was pleased with the election result.
“We are thankful that the voters continue to support the school district from a standpoint of the ESPLOST and bond referendum,” he said. “We appreciative of the confidence they have in us to use that money wisely and conservatively to make sure that we continue to do what is right for the girls and boys of Effingham County. It was overwhelming support, obviously, from the community and I am very thankful that we will be able to keep up with the support that is coming to Effingham County and be able to continue to offer a first-class education in the form of capital projects for our students.
“I want to personally thank our community, taxpayers and voters who came out and supported the ESPLOST initiative.”
The ESPLOST will go into effect when the current one lapses. It was used to build the new Rincon Elementary School.
In other school-related elections, Board of Education Chairman Lamar Allen avoided a runoff in a four-candidate field. He garnered 1,368 votes of the 2,555 votes cast in District 3.
“I thank the voters for the opportunity to serve four more years,” Allen said. “I’m overwhelmed.”
Vice Chairman Troy Alford also won re-election in District 2, beating 1,874-917.
Incumbent Vickie Decker was unopposed in District 5.