Muscogee County School Board delays vote on SPLOST resolution

The Muscogee County School Board delayed a vote on a resolution asking for a referendum on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to give the public more time to give input on the proposed tax.

“Neither Dr. Andrews or I have been comfortable with voting on calling for a SPLOST when we haven’t had all the forums yet,” said board chairman Philip Schley during a called meeting Monday night. The district is holding public SPLOST forums for each of the eight attendance zones and one at-large forum. Three forums have been held already.

The tentative SPLOST project list totals about $223 million in projects and includes five new schools including a new Carver High, a new middle school, two new elementary schools and a fine arts academy. The list also includes additions to Northside High and Richards Middle, as well as technology and athletics upgrades across the district.

School board attorney Jorge Vega said the board wanted to be as transparent and specific as possible with the language on the ballot. Normally, the ballot would say the funds generated would be used to build new schools; the current ballot lists projects, such as the new Carver and the fine arts academy.

“It’s contrary to conventional wisdom and contrary to the way most resolutions are done,” Vega said.

The tentative referendum date is September 15, with early voting beginning August 3. To make this date, the board must vote on the resolution before the next board of elections meeting on May 7.

The next SPLOST forum is Thursday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Blackmon Road Middle School. Citizens can also send their concerns to the superintendent through her blog, www.mcsdsup.blogspot.com.