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Election 2016 preview: SPLOST for education local ballot question

In this series, we will preview what you need to know about the local contested races, constitutional amendments and special election questions on your Nov. 8 ballot. This week, we look at the District 5 Board of Education race and two special election questions for Forsyth County voters.

Other education-related contested races and ballot questions that will appear on your ballot:

* Both District 5 BOE candidates oppose Opportunity School District

Senior homestead exemption revision

WILL APPEAR AS: “Shall a one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes of the Forsyth County School District (the “School District”) be reimposed within Forsyth County, upon the termination of the one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes presently in effect, for a maximum period of time of 20 calendar quarters, for the purposes of providing funds to pay (1) the cost of acquiring land for future schools, instructional and administrative technology improvements for existing schools, and school buses, adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, and equipping existing school buildings and other buildings and facilities useful of desirable in connection therewith, and acquiring any necessary property therefor, both real and persona, all at a maximum cost of $35,528,375, and (2) the cost of retiring a portion of the School District’s General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2004, General Obligating Refunding Bonds, Series 2013, General Obligation Bonds, Series 2014, and General Obligation Bonds, 2016 by paying or making provision for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds coming due on February 1, 2018 through August 1, 2022, in the maximum amount of $159,471,625?”

WHAT IT IS: SPLOST is money collected from sales tax to, in this case, be used for payments on bonds and for capital improvements.

This would be the fifth voter-approved SPLOST continuation and would go into effect July 1, 2017, lasting for five years or until $195 million is collected to pay off four bonds that were voter-approved.

“So instead of making those payments out of property taxes, we would then make it out of sales taxes,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, spokeswoman for Forsyth County Schools.

A remaining $33 million would be reserved for projects like buying land, renovations and additions to existing educational buildings and technology, safety and transportation improvements.

An education SPLOST referendum has never failed at the voting booths, Caracciolo said.

Opposition has come from a small percentage of residents who oppose taxes.

“If it doesn’t pass, out debt service millage rate would have to increase for property taxes,” Caracciolo said, “because we’re committed to paying back those bonds.”