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Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax II


Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax II

The Cobb County and Marietta school districts held a referendum on Sept. 16, 2003 for an extension of the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST. The referendum was passed.

Click here to download the most recent SPLOST II Priority List Update
(Updated June 7, 2011)


Referendum Date: Sept. 16, 2003
Effective: Jan. 1, 2004

REVENUE: (Does not include Marietta City Schools)
Projected Total Cobb SPLOST Receipts (5 years): $637 million
Additional Construction Funding From State: $60 million

Property Tax Rollback: $69 million (elimination of debt)
Nine New Schools: $205 million – Elementary schools (4), Middle schools (3), High schools (2)
Classroom additions: $173 million – 31 projects, a total of 347 classrooms
Maintenance/Renovations: $81 million – Electrical, HVAC, roofing, painting, etc.
Curriculum/Technology: $76 million – New workstations, servers, network, etc.
Safety & Support: $75 million – School access controls, security fencing, surveillance cameras, etc.
Land: $18 million

What is SPLOST?

SPLOST stands for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. It is a one-cent tax on all consumer goods that must be approved by voters in a referendum. SPLOST receipts can be used only for school-related capital improvements. The current SPLOST in Cobb County expires Dec. 31, 2003. A referendum will be held Sept. 16, 2003 to extend the tax another five years.

Why do we need a SPLOST?

Growth in Cobb County, the result of strong schools and relatively low taxes, has put a tremendous strain on resources, especially school facilities. Student enrollment is expected to top 107,000 in the next five years, and has grown by nearly 30,000 students over the last decade. The first SPLOST, which went into effect in 1999, has provided 12 new schools and nearly 1,000 new classrooms – critical relief for seriously overcrowded conditions. As the Cobb County School District has continued to grow, however, the need for classroom space remains. In addition, much of the District’s infrastructure is in need of repairs, many long-overdue. Finally, new state requirements reducing student-teacher ratios has created an additional need for classroom space.

Will Cobb be eligible to receive state construction funds?

Yes. If taxpayers approve SPLOST II, the Cobb County School District will be eligible to receive nearly $60 million in matching construction funds from the state to help meet class-size requirements.

Don’t local property taxes pay for school improvements?

Property taxes pay for day-to-day school operations, such as teacher salaries, books, supplies, fuel for school buses, electricity, etc. But when new schools, new classrooms and renovations are needed, school districts have traditionally borrowed money, just as you would if you were to buy or remodel a house. To borrow money, school districts would issue public bonds that had to be paid back over time with interest, usually necessitating a property tax increase. In contrast to bonds, a SPLOST allows a school district to collect money from a sales tax and pay for construction projects immediately – with no interest to pay back. In fact, receipts not used immediately can be invested and actually earn interest for the District. And a significant portion of all SPLOST II revenue, $69 million, will be used to eliminate the district’s remaining bond debt and provide property tax relief.

What is planned for my school?

Every one of Cobb’s 106 schools will see improvements through SPLOST II. Check with your school principal for a current list of planned projects, or see the detailed information on this site.

When will SPLOST II expire?

On Dec. 31, 2008, or when the sales tax nets $637 million in receipts – whichever occurs first. Once it expires, the tax cannot be reinstated without voter approval.

Have all the projects in the current SPLOST been completed?

Some smaller projects planned for the tail end of SPLOST I have not been started because current tax receipts are short of projections. The shortfall is due to slowed consumer spending as a result of the sluggish economy dating back to 2001. Some of these projects are being started as funds become available, and any that are not begun will receive first priority in SPLOST II.

Will my property tax rate be lowered?

Yes. In the current SPLOST, $115 million was used to reduce debt from the 1995 bond, lowering the millage rate, and property taxes, about two mils. In SPLOST II, $69 million of the projected receipts will be used to retire the remaining bond debt. The school district will be debt free by 2007, and the bond portion of the millage rate will be eliminated, further reducing property taxes.

Is the current SPLOST under budget?

Yes. In total, all SPLOST I projects are nearly $30 million under budget. This effective management has helped to offset some of the recent shortfall in receipts. In addition, all 12 new schools were completed on time, as were all classroom additions.

Who provides oversight of the SPLOST program?

The program manager for SPLOST II projects is The Facility Group, a Smyrna construction firm that coordinates the hiring and oversight of contractors. The District’s SPLOST Accountability Manager (Glen Brown, (770) 420-4906) monitors bidding for projects to ensure that design and construction stay within projected costs, and that projects are completed on time. In addition, a panel of local businesspeople, the Technology Review Committee, meets monthly to review all bids and verify that the program is operating efficiently and maximizing taxpayer dollars.

Will elementary school covered play areas get air conditioning?

Yes. Approximately $7.2 million is designated for air conditioning covered play areas in all elementary schools.

Will school safety be improved?

One of the key projects in SPLOST II is access control for all elementary schools. This electronic system will allow parents, students, and staff to enter and exit through school doors, but will deny entry to unauthorized visitors. SPLOST II also will provide additional surveillance cameras in high schools and middle schools, as well as security fencing and safety-related signage.