SPLOST, short for " Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax," is a one a one-penny tax used by Georgia school systems for capital improvements and long-term debt reduction from previous bonds.
“SPLOST is used by the local school district and is referred to as ‘E-SPLOST’ or ‘Educational’ SPLOST,” explained Dr. Kevin Judy, superintendent of Emanuel County Schools.
Voters in the community have the option to vote on E-SPLOST every five years. By law, E-SPLOST expires after the time is up unless it is renewed. The last time E-SPLOST was voted on was March 2017.
E-SPLOST is vital to Emanuel County Schools as it offers additions that the schools need. “ESPLOST is vital to the continued growth of the school district. This revenue allows the district to purchase and renovate our schools, playgrounds, and athletic facilities. The additional revenue is also used to buy textbooks, instructional supplies, school buses, school equipment and furniture, safety and security systems, technology such as laptops and infrastructure, and band uniforms and equipment,” Dr. Judy said.
Throughout the years, SPLOST has allowed the school district to purchase and renovate their schools and facilities. “Swainsboro High School went through a complete renovation this past summer. This included all new flooring, lighting, fresh paint, new ceiling tiles, a complete overhaul of the restrooms with new toilets, fixtures, reopening the skylight in the atrium,” said Dr. Judy.
One recent SPLOST addition in Emanuel County is a renovated full, state-of-the-art kitchen located in Swainsboro High School. The new lab will allow students to be creatively learn how to work in the food service industry. “Opportunities could include becoming a cook, chef, or owning a catering service,” Dr. Judy continued. They have also renovated the other schools in the Emanuel County district through SPLOST. The entire renovation costs add up to $3,844,056.
“We are in the planning phases of renovating Swainsboro Middle School this summer and Swainsboro Elementary School in the summer of 2022. That will leave Twin City Elementary School as the last school to renovate,” said Dr. Judy. “Twin City Elementary School is also the newest school in the school district.”