ESPLOST supporters use former superintendents in TV ads

The organization created to push for a new education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax has produced three 30-second television commercials featuring three former school superintendents.

Jim Buntin, Guy Sims and John Phillips, all former Muscogee County school superintendents, give their pitches in the 30-second spots produced by Karl Douglass, who is in charge of media and advertising for the campaign. The videos can be viewed here.

The three ads consist of the three former superintendents speaking on behalf of the SPLOST. Two of them feature all three men and one features only Buntin. They can be viewed on YouTube.

“I don’t think there’s anybody better in the community to be a spokesman for the passage of the ESPLOST than three superintendents who have been there, done that and lived it and know it better than anyone else,” said campaign co-chair Sam Wellborn. “They are very, very much in favor of this and they were willing to put themselves on the line by being in a commercial.”

The ads were funded by the Yes for Kids campaign committee, Wellborn said. They also plan to use variety of media to get their message across, including billboards, television, radio and newspaper ads and social media.

Wellborn said his committee has so far raised about $140,000, “in a short period of time, which is pretty remarkable and very generous of the people of Columbus.”

Wellborn said at least 200 people have contributed so far and he expects that number to reach 300 by the time the campaign ends in about 10 days.

“There is just no compelling reason not to vote yes,” Wellborn said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

School board member Frank Myers who, along with fellow member John Thomas, are campaigning against the SPLOST, said the committee formed to oppose the referendum will operate its campaign on “less than $10,000.”

Myers said the committee is planning to advertise, but declined to go into specifics about the campaign.

“It will become apparent very soon,” Myers said.

Learning that the pro-SPLOST faction had raised so much money, Myers said, “How we will be outspent 20 to 1 for the benefit of the continuation of a failed school system is beyond me.”