On March 21, 2017, Whitfield County voters will be asked to vote on the referendum for the continuation of the ESPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax). Early voting is February 27 through March 17 at the Whitfield County Courthouse.
ESPLOST is a joint effort between the Whitfield County and Dalton boards of education. The continued one-cent sales tax is expected to collect up to $98 million countywide over the next five years. The funds would be divided based on student enrollment in each district with approximately 37.7 percent of the revenue going to Dalton Public Schools while 62.3 percent of the revenue would go to Whitfield County Schools.
Revenue generated from ESPLOST may only be used for capital expenditures. School districts may use ESPLOST proceeds for facility additions and renovations, acquiring land and property, purchasing buses and vehicles, textbooks and learning resources as well as to pay down current and previous debt. ESPLOST funds may not be used for employee salaries and benefits or general operations and maintenance.
Below is the list of capital expenditure priorities that Dalton Public Schools would use ESPLOST proceeds to fund:
|Project||Estimated Cost||State Funds||Net Cost|
|Brookwood roof, HVAC and renovation||$5.57 Million||$1.16 million||$4.41 milli|
|City Park roof, HVAC and renovation||$8.78 million||$2.08 million||$6.70 million|
|Technology for student devices||$6.00 million||$6.00 million|
|Technology infrastructure||$3.29 million||$3.29 million|
|Roan HVAC and renovation||$3.61 million||$1.11 million||$2.50 million|
|Dalton High gym addition||$10.50 million||$10.50 million|
|Total||$37.75 million||$4.25 million||$33.40 million|
History of ESPLOST
In the past, most school districts had to raise property tax to generate revenue for renovating and modifying existing facilities and to construct new schools placing the burden directly on property owners. An ESPLOST allows the tax burden to be spread among everyone who shops in a community and pays sales tax.
Four previous ESPLOST referendums have been approved in Dalton/Whitfield County since 1997. Dalton Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools have used these funds to construct a number of new schools to meet growing enrollment needs as well as to renovate existing facilities, improve technology infrastructure, purchase computer devices and pay for other capital improvements.
City Park School
Dalton High School