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Schools can use SPLOST for operations

On "cross-over" day, Friday, March 26, the Georgia House of Representatives approved HR1203, which allows local school systems to use a portion of a future Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for school operations as well as capital expenditures.

"That would be something that could conceivably be a positive for us," McDuffie Schools Superintendent Jim LeBrun said.

"It just depends on the final wording of the bill, whether it's really, truly favorable for us. But, on the surface, it looks positive for McDuffie County."

Although McDuffie County Schools have received an average of $289,000 SPLOST monies per month for the past seven months, not all systems are as fortunate. According to data on the Georgia Department of Education website, 37 school systems across the state do not have a current SPLOST.

The idea behind the resolution is to reduce property taxes in a time of cut-backs from the state. Mr. LeBrun said he thinks the plan should allow local voters to decide on using the tax for their system and shouldn't replace or reduce the state's funds to all systems, especially those with no SPLOST option.

"In essence, if they give us the authority to do an additional sales tax and the flexibility to use it for maintenance and operations, salaries and the general budget, then that would be better," he said.

Mr. LeBrun said he knows the proposal has been in discussion for years, but he has not had a chance to read the latest version of it.

The proposal still has to be approved by a two-thirds vote in the State Senate and ratified by voters as a constitutional amendment in November, according to a press release from the Georgia School Funding Association.

Web posted on Thursday, April 15, 2010

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