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Citizens to help with education SPLOST
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The county's education SPLOST is up for renewal this year and voters will have to decide whether to continue paying an extra 1 percent of sales tax to boost the school system's budget.

The vote will take place on March 19 and leading up to that date school system officials will educate the public on the topic and decide how best to use education SPLOST funds, should the voters give the OK to pass for a fourth consecutive time.

To help in that decision, two citizens have been named to the SPLOST IV committee. Bea Jackson, executive director of the Washington Street Community Center, and Danny Stone, manager for economic development for Snapping Shoals EMC, will be the citizen co-chairs, according to an email from Superintendent Gary Mathews.

Each education SPLOST lasts five years. The current SPLOST doesn't end up until 2014, so the SPLOST being voted on this year would continue from 2015 to 2019.

Monies collected from SPLOST cannot be used for paying salaries, buying supplies or maintenance, because state law prohibits it. They can be used only to pay for capital projects and to retire debt. All of the schools in Newton County have benefited from SPLOST money in some way. Officials said many schools have had extensions completed to make room for more students; Alcovy High School, Liberty Middle School and Flint Hill Elementary School are some of the more recent schools built with the funds, and currently, the replacement for Newton High School is being constructed using SPLOST.

For more information about the education SPLOST, read our previously published primer.