Bibb school board committee OKs plans for ELOST

A Bibb County school board committee approved plans Thursday to seek an education local option sales tax this November.

The board will vote on the matter at next week’s board meeting.

The committee discussed Thursday the process of getting the sales tax on the Nov. 3 ballot.

School board attorney Warren Plowden recommended that the sales tax cap be set at $198.5 million and the amount of the general obligation debt be set at $124 million.

If approved by Bibb County voters, the tax would start when the current ELOST expires Jan. 1, 2011. The tax would last for a maximum of five years, unless the cap is reached before then, Plowden said.

The projects the ELOST would pay for include acquiring, building and equipping five new elementary schools and renovating, extending, equipping and repairing Williams, Union, Brookdale, Carter, King-Danforth, Alexander II and Burke elementary schools, as well as Miller and Appling middle schools, Westside High School and the central office.

Other plans for the money include:

Ÿ Building and improving athletic and concession facilities.

Ÿ Constructing and equipping a replacement facility for maintenance and custodial operations.

Ÿ Providing controlled access entrances at schools and facilities.

Ÿ Buying new technology, fine arts equipment, athletic equipment, safety and security systems, vehicles and maintenance equipment.

Ÿ Planning for new site acquisition, development and construction.

The committee also approved a tax anticipation note — commonly referred to as a TAN — for September and October to cover budget shortfalls.

Schools Superintendent Sharon Patterson said during Thursday’s meeting that the reasons for the shortfall ranged from the state’s mandated budget cuts to the lateness of the Bibb County property revaluation. The finance department estimated a maximum deficit of $14.5 million.

Also Thursday, the board approved Tiffany Walker as the new assistant principal at Northeast High School.

Walker was the assistant dean for business, services and technology at Middle Georgia Technical College for the past two years and was an assistant principal at Northside High School in Warner Robins for five years.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.