Cobb, Marietta schools approve projects totaling around $966 million

Board member Leroy Tre' Hutchins watches public commenters speak during a Cobb County School Board meeting in Marietta on July 15, 2021. (Christine Tannous / christine.tannous@ajc.com)
Caption
Board member Leroy Tre' Hutchins watches public commenters speak during a Cobb County School Board meeting in Marietta on July 15, 2021. (Christine Tannous / christine.tannous@ajc.com)

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cobb rejects a proposal to build a $40 million event center

Voters in Cobb County and Marietta will decide in the Nov. 2 election whether they want to continue using sales taxes to pay for school construction projects.

Marietta City and Cobb County school board members last week approved resolutions calling for a special election to renew the education special purpose local option sales tax.

If approved, the five-year 1% sales tax is expected to generate about $895 million for the Cobb County School District and around $71 million for Marietta City Schools. The tax would be collected for five years, beginning Jan. 1, 2024. The current E-SPLOST started in 2019 and ends Dec. 31, 2023.

Districts can use sales tax revenue for construction and renovation projects and technology purchases. E-SPLOST dollars cannot be used towards school district personnel and operations costs.

ExploreCobb schools’ wish list includes Sprayberry update, graduation venue

Cobb’s list initially included a proposal to build a commencement and events center, which was estimated to cost about $40 million. Board Chairman Randy Scamihorn said a center would allow the district to host graduations without worrying about the weather.

But board members Charisse Davis, Jaha Howard and Leroy “Tre” Hutchins said they could not support paying for an events center when the district has more pressing needs such as improving infrastructure at existing schools. Davis also said nearly all the feedback the district received questioned the need for the events center.

Hutchins, who said his children attend schools where the roofs occasionally leak, said the district should use E-SPLOST revenue to take care of “bare necessities” and purchase more laptops for students.

ExploreCobb schools: Masks to remain optional in upcoming school year

The school board voted 6-1 to approve the project list, with board member David Banks opposing.

Projects on the Cobb County School District’s list include rebuilding of some parts of Sprayberry High School, improvements and modifications at North Cobb high and Bells Ferry Elementary schools, a new elementary school in south Cobb, building the district’s second career academy in the north Cobb area, upgrades at Tapp Middle School; new annexes at Kincaid, Mt. Bethel, Murdock, Sope Creek and Tritt elementary schools, as well as athletic and stadium facility upgrades.

ExploreMore stories about Cobb County public schools

Marietta City Schools wants voters to approve the tax to pay for renovations or additions at Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, Hickory Hills Elementary, West Side Elementary, Sawyer Road Elementary and Marietta High schools. The list also calls for athletic improvements at Northcutt Stadium, upgrading district technology and making various improvements and modifications at all district schools and facilities.

Marietta school board members unanimously approved the system’s project list.