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Columbia County gives thumbs up for education

A recent special election proved successful for Columbia County school officials.

Evans parents, as well as those across the region, have to be breathing a sigh of relief upon discovering the results of the March vote to renew the county’s education sales tax. With only a turnout of 6%, it would appear likely that the special election came as a surprise to most of Columbia’s registered voters.

The renewal of the education special local option sales tax (ESPLOST) for an additional five years will provide the county school system with funding that it can rely on to deal with Columbia’s rapidly growing school population.

A yes vote was cast by about 75% of those who found their way to the polls. Renewal means the school system will be able to go forward with approximately $140m in facility improvements, construction, and equipment. These latest round of improvements are not slated to start until 2017.

Among the expenditures on the agenda for the county school system are new buses, updates in technology for all institutions, and expansion or replacement for Harlem Middle and Grovetown Elementary. Also included are renovations to the athletic facilities at all high schools and, of special interest to Evans families, the construction of a new sports complex and stadium at Lakeside High.

Concerned parents assist their youngsters in a variety of ways, with helping to get out the vote being one, while another is engaging in extra instruction, such as an ACT tutor in Evans.

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