Atlanta school officials are asking parents to turn out in the May 24 election to support an extension of the special local option sales tax.

“We believe [the tax is] important to provide safe and vital places for our children to learn,” School board member Cynthia Briscoe Brown told about 40 people attending the March 23 meeting of the North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools. “We need you to get the word out.”

The 1-cent-on-a-dollar sales tax is expected to raise about $465 million for the schools over the next five years, Brown told parents gathered at Bolton Academy. It would extend the tax first imposed in 1998, she said.

About $330 million raised through the 2016 SPLOST will be spent on construction projects and maintenance, she said. About $47 million will be spent on improvements in technology, she said, while $16 million will be spent on buses, $9 million on safety and security improvements and another $9 million on athletic facilities. About $36 million will be used to pay debts owed by the district, she said.

“If we don’t have this to spend on needs and maintenance, we have to divert money,” she said. “Every dollar we don’t get from SPLOST is a dollar we have to divert [from other district needs].”

Atlanta school board member Cynthia Briscoe Brown talks to members of the North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools on March 23 as fellow board members, seated left to right, Matt Westmoreland, Nancy Meister and Jason Esteves listen from the stage at Bolton Academy.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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