Local News

April 17, 2013

ESPLOST revenue lagging

First two months of sales tax below projections

Revenue from education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) is off to a slow start, leaving officials with Dalton Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools wondering if they will have to scale back projects.

ESPLOST was projected to raise $105 million over five years, with county schools taking $68.65 million and city schools getting $36.35 million.

The sales tax collected for county schools in January was $745,000, but county school officials expected at least $940,000 a month. February brought in $974,242 — more than the $940,000 expected — but the surplus was not enough to make up for the January deficit. County school officials expected to have $1.88 million by now, but have $1.71 million.

Sales tax revenue for each month is released on a two-month delay. Information on revenue from March will not be made available by the state Department of Education until May.

“January is typically the lowest revenue of the year because people have exhausted their wallets from big spending in December during Christmas shopping,” said Ron Hale, chief financial officer for county schools. “January is normally the lowest month, but this is still abnormally low for January ... this is well below expected, but hopefully things improve. If they don’t we will have to cut back on some projects.”

Whitfield school board members have said they want to use ESPLOST to pay off $36 million of debt from building the new Eastbrook Middle School and Coahulla Creek High School, put $8 million towards technology upgrades such as computers and put $12.5 million toward smaller facility upgrades including new air conditioning or new roofs.

The sales tax split between the two systems is based on student population; county schools teach 13,176 and city schools teach 7,225 students, according to the last official count by state officials.

City schools also lower than expected

Officials with Dalton Public Schools also reported lower than expected ESPLOST revenue. January revenue was expected to be close to $500,000, but was $353,000. February was expected to bring in another $500,000, but brought in $489,700. Instead of $1 million in revenue, city schools have $842,700.

“This is only the second month of collections,” said Theresa Perry, city schools chief financial officer. “We can always adjust our projections and fine tune for expenditures in our capital projects. We will make another projection if we find several months into this that we are three or more percent below expectations.

“Overall, February revenue is significantly better than January. That’s 38 percent improvement, but it’s a little bit below projections. Finance staff will continue to monitor this.”

City school board members are planning to use ESPLOST funding to expand Dalton Middle School and Morris Innovative High School.

Text Only
Local News
  • United Way shaw kickoff 3 mlh.jpg Tricycle truckin'

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tricycle truckin'

    August 1, 2014

  • Calhoun men charged with sexual battery to be re-indicted

    Three recent Calhoun High School graduates charged in the sexual assault of a classmate will be re-indicted by a grand jury on Monday, Gilmer County District Attorney Alison Sosebee said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Four arrested on drug charges

    A traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of four people on drug charges and the seizure of more than four pounds of meth and several firearms on Wednesday, officials said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Daltonian on GMA.jpg Good morning, Debbie

    “Lightning doesn’t usually strike twice,” says Dalton’s Debbie Callahan.
    So when it did, “I was shocked (no pun intended).”
    Early Monday morning, Callahan, a 22-year breast cancer survivor, crowded among numerous screaming fans in front of ABC’s Times Square studios in New York City. Fans cheered as the City That Never Sleeps woke up to a live taping of ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council to ask voters for development districts

    Three years ago, voters in Whitfield County and Dalton rejected a request by local officials to give them new economic development powers. In November, voters will have another chance to approve those powers.

    August 1, 2014

  • Four arrested on drug charges

    A traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of four people on drug charges and the seizure of more than four pounds of meth and several firearms on Wednesday, officials said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo