Cobb County residents will vote Tuesday on whether to renew a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, which is expected to bring $773 million to the Cobb and city of Marietta school districts over five years.
With the money, the Cobb County School District would complete hundreds of projects, including repairing or replacing dilapidated buildings and athletic facilities and constructing a $29 million college and career academy.
Marietta’s school board is asking for $55 million to retire debt, renovate Marietta High’s football field and upgrade several facilities and technology.
Opponents of the proposal say the district’s record of how it has used SPLOST funds is shoddy at best. Millions of dollars have been spent on pork projects that barely meet state requirements, critics say, and they suspect future SPLOSTs would be no different.
Supporters say the sales tax is desperately needed in times of deep budget cuts for public education. Generating money for capital projects through a sales tax rather than bonds, administrators say, spreads the financial burden among homeowners, the business community and visitors to the county.
In 2008, the SPLOST referendum benefiting the Cobb and city of Marietta school districts passed with 60 percent approval. That SPLOST expires at the end of this year.
This month’s special election, including early voting, will cost Marietta and Cobb County schools $300,000.
Polls in Cobb County will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voting info
Bond referendum set Tuesday in Canton
Canton voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide on a bond issue aimed at improving the city’s fire service. It’s a proposal to issue up to $6 million to finance up to three new fire stations, renovate the downtown station and acquire fire vehicles. The bonds would be paid back using a 20- year increase in property taxes. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Information: voter.cherokeega.com. -Mark Woolsey for the AJC