DeKalb School Board Passes $475M SPLOST Resolution
DeKalb County voters will be able to vote on the proposal in November.
8:45: Discussion about the SPLOST IV proposal begins. Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson is asking the board to approve the $475 million list.
8:47: Discussion of Henderson Mill and Hawthorne elementary being combined. That's not possible, Tyson said. She reviewed a series of changes to the initial proposal from several weeks ago. All documents can be found on the school system's website here.
8:49: Referndum would be in November 2011. A 1 cent sales tax, a school district official said. Resolution with City of Decatur Schools and Atlanta Public Schools. Will continue SPLOST for additional five years.
8:51: Board member Nancy Jester asks for ammendment. Wants language changed referencing a future Dunwoody elementary school. Board conferring with attorneys. Jester said she wants more flexibility regarding a replacement school for the Austin area.
8:59: Board member Donna Edler has concerns about the lack of specificity. "I think that diminishes the work that we have been trying to do," she said. Jester said the reason she wants the most latitude because the system is moving fast, and the community hasn't had time to adequately vet the SPLOST organization. More flexibility allows her community more input.
9:03: Board member Don McChesney agrees with Jester, and the board needs more flexibility. School system doesn't know where enrollment will ultimately end up in the Dunwoody area. Board member Pam Speaks said she understands Jester and other board members. But she asks for more clarification. Attorney said if SPLOST says a school will be replaced it doesn't need to be replaced in the same exact location. Austin was chosen for its facilities score in the school system's facilities evaluation, said Robert Moseley, an assistant superintendent.
9:11: Board member Sarah Copelin-Wood said she has been cautioned about trying to make sure SPLOST is passed. But if Jester is going to focus on a specific area, Copelin-Wood said so is she. "We're just going to have a pickin'-good time," she said to laughs from the audience.
9:12: Board member Jay Cunningham said Tyson gave board members opportunity to say what they liked or protested in the plan. Austin has been identified based on its score. To change the language allows every board member to recommend changes, he said. Stick with the existing language. "I think this particular referendum for SPLOST IV is an excellent one. I think we need to go ahead and vote and leave everything as it is," he said.
9:15: Jester's ammendment fails 6-3. Jester thanks Tyson and team for work on the referendum. "I'm concerned about the compressed time frame, and the opportunity to explore. ... Our time frame is not the fault of anyone here. Our time frame is being driven by an outside municipality, and that's unfortunate." She said special interest groups have influenced the proposal. She doesn't mention specifics but says that influence is why she cannot support the SPLOST IV proposal. "I cannot make a judgment about these projects under this assessment tonight."
9:19: The board passes the SPLOST resolution 8-1. Only Jester voted against it.