Bibb Board of Education reviews ESPLOST projects

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County residents will decide if they want to continue the Education SPLOST tax this year. The current one ends in December and helped pay for a number of projects.

The school district’s Executive Director for Capital Programs, Jason Daniel, said all of the projects the district worked on over the past five years wouldn’t have been possible without ESPLOST dollars.

“It’s an equitable way to get funding to make sure that you’re taking care of the schools,” explained Daniel.

The current ESPLOST paid for three new elementary schools. Heard Elementary on Houston Road and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary on Shurling Drive cost $15 million each. Veterans Elementary will replace Morgan Elementary on Faubus Avenue and cost $16.8 million. MLK Elementary will be open August 2015. Veterans Elementary will open August 2016.

“The existing schools that we’re replacing, they were built in the early 60’s,” recalled Daniel.

Daniel adds the old construction couldn’t adapt to modern times.

“Technology wasn’t prevalent. The teaching standards weren’t the same. The common space requirements such as media center, art room, the gymnasium facilities. Anything related to fine arts wasn’t built into those types of schools,” explained Daniels.

Miller Magnet Middle School received a new gym that cost $4 million in penny sales tax dollars. The school board also updated technology across the district using ESPLOST money.

“Infrastructure upgrades, we’ve increased the bandwidth throughout to every location in the district. We’ve also provided new computers for staff,” said Daniel.

The new schools and technology upgrades were the biggest projects, but taxpayers also paid for smaller renovations.

“Locked front entrances were put in place to make sure that all visitors are noticed and check in before they walk into a school,” explained Daniel.

Security upgrades cost about $2.5 million, athletic facility upgrades cost about $13 million, bus replacements cost about $8 million creating a combined total of $94.3 million. Daniels said there’s still more to do.

“More security upgrades, more technology upgrades, more bus replacements. Playgrounds for elementary schools. That’s a high priority,” explained Daniel.

Macon-Bibb residents can vote on the new ESPLOST tax on November 3, 2015. For a complete list of all of the possible projects if it’s approved, click here and scroll to page 4. To view the resolution click here.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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