Oconee County Schools have collected nearly $7.9 million in the first year of the Education Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters in 2017, Saranna Charping, school chief financial officer, told the Board of Education on Monday.
Revenue collected from the sales tax between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018–the first year the tax was in place--was up 13.5 percent over revenue in the last year of the preceding tax referendum, according to the report Charping gave the Board.
The school system is projecting that the 2017 referendum for what is referred to as ELOST V will produce $39.9 million across its five years of collection, so the $7.9 million collected in the first year is on target.
The tax is capped at $45 million.
The Board of Education borrowed $23.5 million against the projected revenue from the sales tax, Charping reminded the Board in a separate report on ELOST V spending.
|Burgess And Charping 2/11/2019|
The school system expects to receive $5 million from the state for budgeted projects to be funded by ELOST V, Charping’s report states.
The school system has spent $32.8 million on the projects to be funded by the tax as of Jan. 31, 2019, Charping stated in her report.
The largest item was the $16.7 million spent on the new Dove Creek Elementary School in the far west of the county.
The system has spent $9.2 million on improvements and expansion at Oconee County High School, she reported.
It also spent $2.4 million of ELOST money on track resurfacing and artificial turf at the system’s two high schools and $2.2 million on renovation at Malcom Bridge and Oconee County middle schools.
Revenue from the 1 percent sales tax was up 11 of the 12 months of 2018 in comparison with collections in that same month a year earlier.
The exception was for February of 2018, which was down less than a tenth of a percent from February of 2017.
Collections in October of 2018 were up 24.2 percent from collections in 2017, and the average increase month-to-month from 2017 to 2018 was 13.4 percent, or just less than the 13.5 percent increase from 2017 to 2018.
The school system collected $6.9 million in sales tax revenue in 2017.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Areas, an indicant of inflation, for the year ending Dec. 12, 2018, was only 2.2 percent.
Board of Education Member Tim Burgess, who frequently asks Charping to elaborate on aspects of her financial reports, said, by his calculations, the system had “almost $2.2 million in unencumbered” sales tax revenue at the end of 2018.
“I don’t know that I’ve looked at it that way,” Charping responded and cautioned that the system had four more years of collection yet to receive.
In other action, the Board voted to approve a bid from AT&T for provision of the Service-Fiber Wide Area Network for the schools.
The bid from AT&T was at a cost of $6,958.79 per month with a five-year contract, or a total of $417,527.
AT&T was the low among four bidders for the service and is the current provider of WAN services to the school system.
Randy Dawson, representing Area Churches Together Serving (ACTS) of Bogart, presented an appreciation plaque to Oconee County Schools for the recent Can-a-thon.
In November of 2018, Oconee County Schools collected and donated 33,208 cans to the food drive, according to Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, director of Communications for the schools.
Dawson said the donations will meet the needs of ACTS through March or April.
Last month, Dawson said, ACTS provided food for 215 families.
Recognitions are a standard part of Board of Education meetings.
During the recognition section of the meeting on Monday, the Board congratulated the February Pursuit of Excellence Award Winner, School Nutritionist Amy Taylor, Colham Ferry Elementary School.
The Board also recognized the 2019 Special Olympics-Indoor Winter Games 3 on 3 Team Basketball awardees from Oconee County Middle School, North Oconee High School and Oconee County High School.
Finally, the Board recognized the 2019 Special Olympics-Indoor Winter Games Bowling awardees.
The first video below is of the entire meeting of the Board of Education.
The recognitions begin at 1:07 in the video.
Charping began her report at 23:35 in the video.
Dawson spoke to the Board beginning at 30:06 in the video.
The video below only includes the recognitions section of the Board of Education meeting.