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BoE's bond/ESPLOST pitch is online

POSTED: March 9, 2017 1:00 p.m.
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The school board's website about the ballots issues is at www.bryancountyschools.org/o/BCS/page/esplost-bonds

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With early voting already under way, Bryan County Schools is taking its campaign for the renewal of ESPLOST and approval of a $100 million bond sale to the internet.

The school system has launched a webpage with information it says explains why the school board needs voters to approve both in a March 21 referendum.

You can find that information here: www.bryancountyschools.org/o/BCS/page/esplost-bonds

In a press release issued before the page went live March 3, Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher, who has spoken at civic groups around the county, said the measures are necessary to accommodate what the release called "overwhelming" growth in student enrollment.

"We must be forward thinking or we are going to run out of classroom space for our students. Our buildings are aging, we are experiencing significant growth and our projected growth is staggering. The board of education should be commended on its foresight and support of several future generations of Bryan County students," Brooksher said.

The Bryan County Board of Education is proposing the bond sale to pay for a new $85 million Richmond Hill High School as well as other building and renovation projects on both sides of Bryan County, according to the school system’s press release.

The county currently gets about $25 million every five years from the penny sales taxes, but that ESPLOST is set to expire in March 2018. If it is renewed, ESPLOST will help pay back the $100 million in bonds, but the school board will also likely impose a tax hike on homeowners.

"The BOE anticipates using SPLOST receipts and some form of a debt service millage rate to payback the GO Bonds," the release said. "Over the last eight years, the BOE has not increased school taxes while growing almost 2,000 new students over that same time period. Considering the impacts of student growth on a school system and a need for additional classroom space, the BOE will be required to assess a future tax increase …."

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