Dawson students arriving for school. Photo by Ellen Harrison.
Gibbs to propose ESPLOST referendum to Dawson BOE
Dawson County voters may have the opportunity to decide to extend the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for a sixth time.
The Dawson County Board of Education will be discussing a possible special sales tax referendum during its July 9 meeting during which Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs is expected to ask board members to vote to approve a potential ESPLOST (education special purpose local option sales tax) referendum on the November ballot.
ESPLOST is a 1-cent sales tax that is utilized by the school system for building works, including repair and renovations, acquiring land for school projects, equipment such as tablets and computers for students, fleet maintenance. The last ESPLOST also included book acquisitions, digital resources and other media for students.
Taxpayers voted in favor of ESPLOST V, which was a five-year extension of a 2009 sales tax in 2016. It passed with 77.7 percent of the vote and was projected to generate about $30 million over five years. Dawson County schools collected roughly $26.3 million of the maximum $36.5 collection, roughly $3 million more than projected collections. At that rate, the school system could reach the maximum collection amount prior to the 60-month term.
Should the board vote to include the referendum on the ballot this fall, it would allow Dawson County residents opportunity to continue ESPLOST without a lapse in collections or vote against it.
The performing arts center at the Dawson County High School was a result of ESPLOST V.