Gov. proposes funds for school construction

COVINGTON - Gov. Sonny Perdue proposed in his 2010 budget a $318 million bond package that would help school systems across Georgia build schools and add on to existing schools as needed.

Officials at local school systems said the money is part of the state capital outlay program. Each time a public school system plans to add on to existing schools, build new ones or embark on other projects, it typically submits a state capital outlay application that includes evidence of growth, a need for more facilities, the scope of the projects and other funding sources available, such as sales-tax funds.

If the funds were not made available, school systems without the funding themselves possibly would have to delay projects or find another way to pay for them.

The bond package this year calls for $8,119,950 for the Newton County School System.

Deborah Robertson, associate superintendent for administration at NCSS, said this will go to cover part of the addition to Alcovy High School and the construction of the next elementary school, which could begin within the next two years depending on growth.

The governor proposes Rockdale County Public Schools receive $3,327,568.

Lee Davis, Chief Financial Officer at RCPS, said the debt-free system will combine this funding with special purpose local option sales tax funds to construct new facilities and other renovations to system buildings that later will be determined.

The school projects in this bond package are part of $1.2 billion in total projects that make up Perdue's 2010 budget proposal, which he presented to the Georgia General Assembly Wednesday during his State of the State Address.

"This year's bond package, totaling over $1.2 billion in new investment, will put Georgians to work and build critical infrastructure," Perdue said in a press release. "In a time that we have trimmed our budget in other areas, we are aggressively increasing our bond package by a full 20 percent over last year. This will take advantage of low construction costs and create an estimated 20,000 new jobs in an industry that is ready to go to work."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.