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Revised SPLOST IV Projects Unveiled

Additional funding and renovations have been proposed at Tapp Middle School, Teasley and Kincaid elementaries and in Cobb County.

The feedback Cobb County Board of Education members have been receiving about the proposed SPLOST IV project list has produced some major revisions in the package, and for several schools throughout the county.

Board members on Thursday discussed the revised list, which still comes in at an estimated $717 million in collections.

Among the major changes are $3.1 million in renovations at Tapp Middle School in Powder Springs, a $3.3 million addition at Kincaid Elementary School in Northeast Cobb and new classroom space at Teasley Elementary School in Smyrna costing another $3.1 million.

In East Cobb, two significant changes have been proposed: A $30 million middle school replacement, likely at East Cobb Middle School, and a total of $27 million in renovations, up from $14 million, for Walton High School.

Removed from the list is one of two career academies that cost an estimated $30 million each.

Remaining is a $29 million earmark for the reconstruction of Osborne High School, three unspecified elementary school replacement projects and theater and gymnasium replacements at a number of high schools.

The board is expected to vote in November to call a referendum next March. The current SPLOST III collection period ends at the end of 2013, and the one-cent SPLOST IV extension would cover 2014-2018.

Since the initial SPLOST IV list was revealed earlier this fall, parents have been flooding message board and speaking out at public meetings. On a feedback link on the Cobb County School District website, parents from Walton, Tapp and East Cobb's Eastvalley Elementary School have been most vocal.

During a public comment period at Thursday's board meeting, parents continued to press for more improvements.

"What action can we take as a community?" Tapp parent Dolores Abbott told board members. "I feel like I'm in a third-world country, because that's what Tapp gets."

Walton parents have been demanding a fine arts complex to replace outmoded and cramped space at a school that is nearing 40 years old and is serving 2,600 students, 1,000 more than it was designed to hold.

James Wilson, an educational consultant hired by the school board to prepare and revise the SPLOST IV list, said each school's top priority is reflected in the proposal, and that "the whole book is based on need."

That's the problem board members face as they finalize the list expected to be placed before voters.

North Cobb board member Lynnda Eagle, who is leaving office at the end of the year, was dismayed that some elementary schools will continue to have trailers through the SPLOST IV collection period.

"We've been talking about portable classrooms for a long time," she said.

Northeast Cobb board member Kathleen Angelucci expressed concern about safety considerations, citing bus pick-up lane logistics at Blackwell Elementary School in her district.

Eagle also is an advocate of the career academies, which Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has proposed and calls a "game-changer," especially in preparing non-college-bound students.

But that proposal generated skepticism from Angelucci and board member Tim Stultz.

"The concept is awesome," Angelucci said. "But there is the stark reality that this is going to cost this district" not just in building new facilities, but in staffing and maintaining them for years.

Hinojosa said while he could not offer a prototype, he and his staff would try to work in some more details before the board votes on calling for a referendum.

"I think this is a very exciting project because I have seen it work," he said.

The board will have another public meeting in November before a vote.

Brian October 28, 2012 at 04:46 PM
This isn't OUR tax money. It's sales tax, with much of it coming from people outside Cobb County, shopping in Cumberland, Marietta, and Town Center along with business trips/conventions and hotel stays in Cumberland. Campbell is ranked in the top 700 nation-wide and one of the top high schools in Cobb County, after a couple others like Wheeler and Lassiter. You should support it. I didn't see a complaint about the other gymnasium and theater projects, yet if you look at Campbell's gym, it's clearly in need of an upgrade. Better amenities attract more affluent students, which help test scores. If you want Cobb County to stay at the top of school systems, we can't just focus on paying teachers. People look at the infrastructure too.
Brian October 28, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Direct link to the project list is here: http://www.cobbk12.org/aboutccsd/SPLOST/CCSDSPLOSTIVNotebook_20120911.pdf I don't get the point of voting against the SPLOST if the county will just issue bonds anyway.. I think it's better hitting us as sales tax. Anyone know if it doesn't pass, will they slim down the list if they are forced to issue bonds? I think the adult education school is a great idea since statistics have shown there is a demand for new employees in some specific areas, but some of the unemployed just don't have the right skills. However, we need only one. The best location would probably be somewhere in the center of the county, maybe along the 120 loop, Delk Rd, or Windy Hill near the interstate in a bus-accessible location.
Inside-Out October 28, 2012 at 06:14 PM
This is not about recruiting students, This is public education. Sales tax is our tax money. Everything that we purchase in our day to day lives will be tacked onto us, the citizens of Cobb County. 12.5 million dollars for a new gym when they already have two gyms at the school is ridiculous. Yes, they are old but they are fully functional and structually fine. I wasn't aware that our Public schools were recruiting affluent students. Maybe if the Cobb County Board of Education worried more about education than sports and extra curricular activities. The money spent on artificial turf at every high school in the system apparently has not helped to attract more affluent students. Maybe they should think of adding some suites to the gyms to attract more corporate sponsorships. This will help in their future recuiting efforts. Can anyone show me some data that new gymnasiums imrove testing scores ?
lowbar October 29, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Brian, you are one of the more reasonable liberals here but come on, "This isn't OUR tax money. It's sales tax". You are asking me to pay one percent more for every dollar I spend. How is that not my tax money? Every cent the government spends comes from it's citizens. Cobb County schools are funded by our property taxes. They need to learn how to live within their budget.
Plank October 30, 2012 at 03:34 PM
It's not a new gym in the sense that there will now be 3, its renovations and additions so that there will be somewhere on campus that hold the entire student body. Currently, the FTE of Campbell is somewhere north of 3,100 students. While there may only be 2,500 right now, the current "big" gym can barely hold 1,600 without breaking fire codes. I'm not sure about you, but most people had events and assemblies in school from time to time. At this point, Campbell has no place to do that. It also happens to be one of the smaller gyms in the district. We can't scream that our kids don't get the best in one breath, then complain when they're offered the best to match the "good" schools and we decline it.

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