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Forsyth County voters pass referendum to continue E-SPLOST for next 5 years
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Board of Education Chair Kristin Morrissey checks for election results with friends at Tam's Tupelo on Tuesday, Nov. 2. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Forsyth County voters passed a referendum Tuesday night to continue a 1% sales tax used to help fund capital projects within the Forsyth County Schools System.

Unofficial results Tuesday night showed the Educational Special Local Option Sales Tax, or E-SPLOST, referendum received 8,725 votes in favor of its continuation — compared to the 3,832 residents who voted against it.

Just 7.6% of voters cast their ballots in the county-wide election, totaling 12,575 votes. These included 211 absentee ballots, 4,522 advanced voters and 7,842 who came out to the polls on election day.

Forsyth County Board of Education officials thanked residents for coming out Tuesday and voting to continue with the E-SPLOST for another five years.

"We are grateful to the voters for once again showing their support and commitment to students and teachers of Forsyth County," BOE Chair Kristin Morrissey said.

E-SPLOST will be used to pay for capital projects within Forsyth County Schools. This is unlike SPLOST collected by the county or city, which is used for projects such as traffic lights, roads and more.

A new elementary school to serve as a replacement for Midway Elementary is among the list of capital projects. The school has faced overcrowding issues for several years due to a small student capacity, and because of its location near Highway 9, the school cannot be expanded.

Planned for a lot near Denmark High School, the replacement school is expected to cost $38 million for the building and furniture.

Aside from the Midway replacement, most of the other projects include upgrades, repairs and refreshers for older schools and equipment in the district. This includes furniture, technology, facilities and other supplies that need to be repaired or replaced in district schools and buildings.

The overall total cost of these projects is projected to be more than $264.7 million.

"That will help us improve school safety, add security lighting [and] cameras, new busses, school improvements like STEM, fine arts, computers/chromebooks, special education supports, and do small- and large-scale life cycle maintenance projects," Morrissey said.

The E-SPLOST will also go toward debt payments from the district bond approved by voters in 2018 to help fund new schools such as Poole’s Mill Elementary, East Forsyth High, Hendricks Middle and New Hope Elementary.

Now that many of these projects are completed, district leaders said they are excited to switch to a pay-as-you-go model funded through E-SPLOST without having to issue another bond referendum through the next five years.