Voters in Atlanta-Area Districts Extend Tax for Schools
Six school districts in and around Atlanta expect to have almost $2 billion in sales-tax revenue for school facilities over the next five years, thanks to voters who went to the polls last week.
Residents in Fulton, DeKalb, Henry, and Coweta counties passed tax measures March 19 that will extend a 1 percent sales tax for another five years to finance school construction and renovations. The extension will help local school districts—including the Atlanta and Decatur school systems—cope with burgeoning student enrollments and provide much-needed makeovers to their aging schools.
Atlanta's public schools are projected to receive $542 million from the sales tax. The money will keep the district on track with an extensive renovation of facilities in the 60,000-student system. The district expects to renovate and build additions at 32 schools. Another seven schools will be built or reconstructed.
Since 1997, the Atlanta district has spent about $446 million on school improvements.
Fulton County school leaders expect the sales tax to generate $670 million. The 70,000-student district intends to build seven new schools, among other plans.
To cope with continued growth in enrollment, the Henry County system expects to construct eight new schools. Cindy Foster, the district's community-development coordinator, said the county currently is using 251 portable classrooms. The 25,000-student district also will buy more land for future school sites with the $130 million that the sales tax is expected to raise.
In the 2,600- student Decatur schools, district leaders intend to use the $14 million raised by the sales tax to renovate three elementary schools. Coweta County, meanwhile, expects to build three new schools for its 18,000 students and add classrooms to other schools with its expected $98 million in tax revenue.
Vol. 21, Issue 28, Page 5