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Opportunities available for Newton SPLOST information

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 dstone@ssemc.com 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.

Comments

HonestAbe 1 year, 1 month ago

The Georgia School Boards legislature priorties are to add an additional 1% sales tax to for general spending. If they get this done it will be an additional 1% tax added onto the 1% SPLOST they are trying to pass now. They also have a legislature priorty for a constitutional amendment whereas they would be able to get ALL SPLOST procedures with NONE going to local independent school districts in the county.

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NoSPLOST 1 year, 1 month ago

@Honest Abe. I did my part today. I voted NO.

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HonestAbe 1 year, 1 month ago

@NoSPLOST Yes you have. I can't believe anyone would vote yes on March 19th. You would think they would at least want to push it back to the Nov general election as a way of telling this board to correct their problems. Plus they would know much more about what they really need in 2015 to 2020 than they do now. Anyone voting yes on March 19th will also be voting yes for their high school and middle school students to pay this tax in years 2015 to 2020. They should at least take the extra year to researh this because the school system won't lose a single penny on this go around.

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Lucy30016 1 year, 1 month ago

So the taxpayers have passed the last three SPLOSTS and each year student test scores have gone south down - they are bad scores.

So I recommend voting no this time so maybe the scores will go up?

Just a logical idea if you think on it. NCSS has not put out a single piece of information to convince me to vote yes on this. Grad rates are below the state and nation. HOPE percentages of our grads are low as they can get Alcovy is like under 40%. Low test scores in 9 - 12. Math eoct scores in grade 9 are low. School crime is so high that it has it's own weekly section running.

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Shart15 1 year, 1 month ago

This does not have to be decided now. Let's review it on November 2014. The fact that our school board is so arrogant and values tax dollars so little that a 38 Thousand $ special election was chosen tells me all I need yo know. I will be voting NO.

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Del 1 year, 1 month ago

SPLOST must be voted down. The Board has proved time and time again they cannot manage the funds. We all have to cut our budgets to make ends meet, they need to do the same. VOTE NO NO NO

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RV30015 1 year, 1 month ago

Are they getting rid of or replacing the current Eastside with this? East Newtonians you better ask tough questioms on this!

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dennistay53 1 year, 1 month ago

If any can please come to this tonight. I need your support. We are David fighting Goliath. We at the least need this voted down on March 19th to show the board we don't like their behavior and send them back to the drawing board with this.

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Bemused 1 year, 1 month ago

You don't seem to understand that if you vote this E-SPLOST down, you're not punishing the board, you're only punishing the students of this county and then yourself because you can surely bet that your taxes will take a large hike to cover the shortfall that continues because of a lack of state and national funding.

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dennistay53 1 year, 1 month ago

First, millage rates can't go up. They are at the cap. 2nd, Voting it down on March 19th will not take a penny away from the school system. It will just delay it as the board will bring it back in the March 19 election with no interuption to SPLOST. It will give time to take stuff like Replacing an 18 year old school out of it. 2nd with $75 million worth of bond debt there is no way they can get rid of all the bond mills with 30 million dollars even if it reachs that number, so you are being mis lead. 3rd we are the ones pushing for a revamping of SPLOST to cover onl;y hiring and maintaining good teachers, deputies and safety in all schools and reducing property tax.

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Tairuna 1 year, 1 month ago

WHY was there a majority of elected school board members at this meeting speaking out against Mr. Taylor? In a public forum one side speak, the other side speaks and elected members currently in office shut up and should not even assemble as a group of 3. The school board attorney must give no advice on this. I am guessing.

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