COVINGTON -- Newton County residents still have opportunities to learn more about the education SPLOST IV referendum before voting ends later this month.
A grassroots organization, the Patriots' Table, is holding a SPLOST forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Newton County Library in Covington.
Danny Stone, manager of Economic Development for Snapping Shoals EMC and a co-chair for the SPLOST election, will speak in favor of the measure, while resident Dennis Taylor will speak in opposition of it.
Fred Wheeler, chair of the Patriots' Table, said they will debate back and forth for about 20 minutes, and then questions will be taken from the audience for about 30 to 45 minutes or longer.
"Anybody who is unfamiliar with what's going on, I would encourage them to come out," Stone said.
Taylor said he plans to give 23 reasons why he's against SPLOST.
"It's been rushed onto us without much time for anybody to look at what's going into it," he said. "It's something we always vote on but we're not always told the whole story behind it."
Stone and fellow SPLOST co-chair Bea Jackson have spoken to several groups already about the SPLOST projects, and they said they are still available to speak to residents or groups about the referendum. Interested residents should contact Jackson at 770-786-4002 or Stone at 770-385-2841 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a speaking engagement.
The special election is Tuesday, March 19, when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters can visit the Secretary of State's My Voter Page to locate their polling place.
Early voting started Feb. 25 and will continue until March 15. Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Newton County Administration Building on the first floor across the hall from the election office.
"There are no Saturday hours for early voting and there will not be any early voting offered at the Porter Memorial Branch Library for the March 19 Special Election," said Donna Morrison, director of Newton County Election.
She said so far turnout has been light with only about 50 people casting a ballot so far in early voting.
The current education SPLOST expires in December 2014. If the March referendum fails, the school board can call for another election as part of the November 2014 general election.
The referendum would extend the existing 1 percent tax for education for a five-year period from 2015-2019, providing funds for property tax relief, school security and technology, student transportation, and school maintenance. It would be the fourth round of an education SPLOST for the county that started in May 2007.