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Sales tax for schools extended by voters

McDuffie County voters on Tuesday continued the 1-cent sales tax dedicated to school improvements. E-SPLOST V will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, after the current tax expires, and continue for five years.

The tax passed with 86.4 percent, with 1,925 in favor and 303 against. Voter turnout was 16 percent.

Residents vote on whether to renew or discontinue E-SPLOST every five years.

McDuffie County Schools Superintendent Jim LeBrun said he was elated to see the community show such strong support for the system.

"It's a big vote of confidence in what we're doing and what we plan to do," he said.

Proceeds from the tax can be used for capital projects, such as construction, and cannot be used for personnel expenditures.

In the past, the funds have been used to purchase computers, maintain school buses and build Thomson-McDuffie Middle School.

E-SPLOST V has a projected income of $18 million and a cap of $23.7 million. The tax is paid by

everyone who shops in the county.

LeBrun said the money will allow the school system to fund several projects.

The Board of Education plans to use the proceeds for the construction of an elementary school, completion of The Brickyard and potential renovations at Thomson High School.

During a forum just a week ago, LeBrun said local spending to update the high school will qualify McDuffie County for matching state funding.

The bottom line, he said, is that local taxpayers will pay only about 50 cents on the dollar of the total cost of the school.

"It was a great victory for our kids, as well as all stakeholders in the system," LeBrun said Tuesday.

Web posted on Thursday, November 10, 2011

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