Bibb school sales tax supporters kick off Nov. 3 vote campaign

Supporters of extending Bibb County’s education-related sales tax met Thursday to kick off a campaign to get residents to the polls Nov. 3.

“This is a time that it’s important that we think forward,” said the Rev. James Bumpus, co-chairman of the Committee to Invest in Bibb County’s Future. “Our children deserve the best we can give them.”

If Bibb County residents vote to extend the education sales tax, which expires December 2010, they’ll be approving a to-do list that includes five new elementary schools, enhanced security and technology and several new athletics facilities.

The items are on a list of the school system’s 2010-2015 capital improvement program, which seeks to raise $198 million from a penny of sales tax on the dollar during five years, beginning in 2011.

Topping the list would be five elementary schools — four new schools and the rebuilding of Heard Elementary.

Bibb County schools Superintendent Sharon Patterson said the proposal is not a new tax but rather an extension of an existing one. The county’s sales tax is currently 6 percent and would remain 6 percent if voters approve the tax.

Gene Dunwody Jr., another committee co-chairman, said while new and renovated schools may not improve test scores, they won’t hurt.

Of 26 Bibb schools that met Adequate Yearly Progress, 22 are new or renovated, he said.

Patterson said a sales tax continuation will insure that students are educated in a 21st century environment and that they’re safe.

Lisa Mayfield, a parent of four children in Bibb County schools, said she supports the sales tax.

“It’s a no-brainer for me,” she said, adding she’s asking parents and supporters of the proposal to call their friends and encourage them to vote for it.

Dunwody said committee members are passing out fliers at fall festivals, churches, school events and other gatherings in hopes of educating the community.

“What we’re finding is that we’ve got a lot of support,” he said.

For a complete list of all proposed projects to be funded during the 2010-15 capital improvement program, visit the Bibb County school system’s Web site at or the committee’s Web site at

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.