A former chairman of the Bryan County Board of Education is doing her part to educate the community about the educational special purpose local option sales tax, or ESPLOST.
Carol Ann Coleman is heading up efforts to rally voters for this year's ESPLOST referendum, set for March 6. If voters approve to continue the penny tax, this would be the fourth installment of the ESPLOST in Bryan County, Coleman said.
Coleman explained the ESPLOST cannot be used for salaries. It is specifically dedicated to capital projects like new buildings, classroom technology improvements, acquiring school buses and others, she said.
"The biggest reason to vote for ESPLOST is because it allows the school system to address high dollar facility needs and other improvements in infrastructure and technology and transportation," she said. "Without the ESPLOST, we would have to depend on property taxes or do without those things."
Coleman said the majority of funding for ESPLOST comes from outside of the community. When people shop or buy gas in Bryan County, they are contributing, she said.
If approved, the new ESPLOST would go into effect April 1, 2013 according to Bryan County School Superintendent John Oliver. It is expected to raise around $32.5 million over the next five years, he added.
Projects slated for the use of these funds include a new elementary, middle and high school, remodeling and improving existing educational buildings, acquiring textbooks and school buses and more.
Read more in Wednesday's Bryan County News.