Since 2003, the Board of Education has leveraged Bulloch County’s growth as a regional retail sales and tourism hub to fund capital improvement needs for local public schools. This is done by requesting that an Education Special Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) referendum be placed on an election ballot for voters. This practice reduces the extent of property taxes or future millage rate increases. E-SPLOSTs also allow the tax burden to be shared more fairly among property and non-property owners.
E-SPLOST Projects At-A-Glance
Safety & Security Technology & Equipment
Upgrades to the following: software, security cameras, security lighting, security fencing, fire suppression, security walls and glass, intercom systems and bells, coded facility entry systems, clocks, emergency radios
Instructional Technology & Resources
Textbooks and digital learning resources, software, cloud-based applications; technology hardware and devices
Buildings & Land
Construction of a new high school, physical education and athletic facility improvements, renovations and additions, land improvements, new roofing, plumbing, electrical, lighting, wiring, fiber, painting, water piping, HVAC construction, renovations necessary to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, energy management systems, repaving, railings, purchase of land for current or future use, site work.
Equipment & Vehicles
Playground equipment and costs associated with its relocation and refurbishment, buses and other vehicles, equipment, furniture and furnishings, copiers, and other office equipment
E-splost One, Two & Three
Voters in 2003 were the first to affirm a referendum to establish a one-penny E-SPLOST. In 2005 and 2009, voters agreed to extend the tax to continue the investment in public school infrastructure. Each of the three previous E-SPLOSTs were affirmed by Bulloch County voters by more than 90 percent.
The three previous E-SPLOSTs generated approximately $148 million. This allowed the Board to successfully complete these and other projects: build six new schools; renovate and expand seven additional schools; build three high school athletic complexes; partner with the Statesboro Bulloch County Parks & recreation facility to build the Mill Creek Regional Park Tennis Center and upgrade the softball and baseball facilities for school and Recreation Department use; meet the demands of a digital age by providing faculty and students with instructional technology, wireless Internet infrastructure, increased Internet bandwidth and fiber connections; improved the district’s telecommunications system and information systems support; and add additional buses to the school system’s fleet for the daily transport of more than 5,500 children.
Registered voters in Bulloch County approved in a special election on Nov. 7, 2017, a fourth one-cent sales and use tax for educational purposes for five years (Jan. 1, 2019 - Dec. 31, 2023). The Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) will raise approximately $51 million for capital improvement projects for each of the district’s 15 public schools and alternative learning centers. E-SPLOST III ended on December 31, 2018, and the fourth E-SPLOST went into effect on January 2019.
Bulloch County continues to grow and so does its school system. Since the first E-SPLOST in 2003, enrollment has grown by more than 3,000 new children; however, based on state evaluations of the school system's current student population, the district is not eligible to build any new schools. E-SPLOST IV would instead be used to fund other significant capital improvement projects. These include renovations and improvements to school facilities; new safety, security and instructional technology; additional buses; improved learning spaces furniture; new playground equipment; and new middle school athletic facilities and renovations or expansions to existing facilities.
These projects were identified with input from principals, faculty leaders, school councils and two community advisory committees – E-SPLOST and Facilities. They were then prioritized for action by nearly 60 parents, community, and faculty members, who collaborated on these two committees. The projects, in addition to needs identified by the school system's Three-Year Technology Plan and the Academic Support Department, are how the estimated $52 million in E-SPLOST IV revenues were invested.
On November 8, 2022, registered voters in Bulloch County approved the continuation of the education special purpose local option sales tax for a fifth time. The one-cent tax is estimated to raise a maximum of $110 million over the next five years, and the approved referendum allows for up to $80 million of general obligation debt.