DeKalb school board member H. Paul Womack Jr. issued this statement to DeKalb voters who approved SPLOST earlier this month:
I would like to take this opportunity to say something simple that’s probably not said enough these days.
Earlier this month, the voters of DeKalb County, by an impressive margin of more than 60 percent, approved the continuation of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST IV, for DeKalb and other metro area school systems.
First, I’d to thank each voter for exercising their right to vote. Our right to vote on questions such as the SPLOST, and to elect the people who serve in our government, is a right too many of us take for granted. So, I’d like to especially commend those that took time to go to the polls.
I’d also like to thank the voters for their support of DeKalb Schools. As a member of the Board of Education, I take the result as both an endorsement that we are doing some things right, and a challenge that we need to continue to improve.
And as part of that challenge, I can assure those who voted for SPLOST – and those who didn’t – that we are committed to ensuring that the process of executing SPLOST projects will be transparent, professional and accountable.
Leading up to the vote, it was easy for some to suggest that the SPLOST was wasteful or unnecessary. But the simple truth is DeKalb Schools needs some $2 billion in improvements. The SPLOST, at some $475 million, will only address a fraction of that need. But, it is a critical mechanism to give our students the facilities they need, protect property values and keep the burden of school construction off the backs of taxpaying homeowners.
So, I’d like to thank all of the voters and taxpayers in DeKalb County for your support, and I look forward to working with you to make our schools the best they can be.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog