Don’t Forget to Vote November 8!
This coming Tuesday, November 8, voters have the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ to keep the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax dedicated to capital and technology improvements for our schools. The school SPLOST has been in place since 1997, so it is not a new tax, but simply a continuation of funding that protects our capital assets, keeps our property taxes down, and that will bring more than $500 million in economic activity into DeKalb over the next five years.
This renewal of the school SPLOST will have a tremendous benefit to Druid Hills and our neighboring intown school communities. Among the capital upgrades and improvements that will take place are:
- $20 million for a new school building for Fernbank Elementary. The new building, which will sit on the same school site Fernbank has had since 1957, will accommodate all Fernbank students, faculty, and staff, without any trailers. The new building will meet today’s educational suitability standards and make the most of sustainable engineering and technology. Construction will take place during the summer of 2013 and continue through the 2013-2014 school year. Students, teachers, and staff are expected to open the new building with the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
- Nearly $700,000 for new plumbing fixtures and water piping in the older portions of Druid Hills High School.
- At Springdale Park Elementary, construction of a gymnasium and parking lot will be paid for with SPLOST dollars.
- Candler Park’s Mary Lin Elementary will receive a renovation and meaningful expansion that will better accommodate all of Mary Lin’s students.
- Atlanta Public Schools will build a new middle school in Midtown.
- City Schools of Decatur will receive as much as $18 million, which will fund, among other things, a renovation and expansion of Renfroe Middle School and allow for the re-opening of Westchester Elementary School on Scott Boulevard.
- In Avondale Estates, Avondale Elementary will receive over $2.3 million in badly needed upgrades to critical building systems, and the currently empty Avondale Middle will receive a $4.3 million renovation so that it will serve as a comprehensive School of the Arts for not only high school age artists, but the budding artists in the lower grades as well.
Finally, the new DeKalb Superintendent, Cheryl Atkinson, has announced a SPLOST oversight committee that will be comprised of 12 members from the community and with expertise in construction, project management, finance, and regulatory compliance. Unlike past practices, this committee will not be appointed by elected Board members, but will be appointed by the Superintendent. Her creation of this type of oversight mechanism demonstrates a commitment to ethical project execution and is a welcome development.
Please remember to vote this coming Tuesday, November 8. Early voting also is available today through Friday, November 4, 8:30am-4:00pm at the DeKalb Voter Registration office at 4380 Memorial Drive.