Schools in Richmond County will get $140 million in upgrades in the next few years thanks to the continuation of a 1-cent sales tax approved by voters Tuesday.
The fourth round of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax passed with 72.9 percent of the vote. The tax, which has been in place since 1997, adds one cent to all purchases made in Richmond County.
Richmond County Board of Education President Alex Howard said the tax is the only way the district can pay for much-needed renovations to local schools.
“It’s reassuring to see that the voters have recognized how important the SPLOST is, not only to the local school system but also to our local economy,” Howard said.
The previous round of taxes paid for millions of dollars in improvements at schools and new technology. At the same time, 40 percent of the tax generated was from those visiting from outside the county, while 90 percent of the projects have been completed by local vendors, Howard said.
Voters on Tuesday said improving schools was well worth the sacrifice of 1-cent on purchases.
Earnestine McKie said with several grandchildren in the school system, she knows the importance of contributing to education.
“If it’s going to help the children’s education, improve the upkeep of the buildings, then why not?” she said. “It’s just a penny. If the Lord blessed you with a penny and you’re doing great things, then why not?”