Committee formed to promote SPLOST

By Greg Gelpi

As fields of trailers continue to serve as temporary classrooms, a committee has formed to spearhead efforts to reduce the number of trailers.

Visions of Improving Clayton's Education System (VOICES) 04, a committee of various Clayton County activists, has come together to campaign for the extension of the school system's 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which is due to expire Dec. 31.

The committee will be "showering" the county with information leading up to the Sept. 21 special election which will decide the fate of the tax, said Lee Scott, the co-chairman of the committee.

"We will be out in full force on Sept. 21," Scott said. "We all have to dig into our own pockets, and we are soliciting donations (to fund the committee)."

Since the Clayton County school legally can't endorse or campaign for a SPLOST, VOICES 04 is meeting with various groups, including Parent Teacher Associations, and is planning to hold a public meeting on the SPLOST.

"The trailers will eventually be replaced with real classrooms and the progress will continue to give our children the best we can reasonably afford," Scott said.

Scott, who has two children in the Clayton County school system, said that he is using the knowledge he gathered recently when he campaigned to get his wife, Jewel Scott, elected Clayton County district attorney.

His campaigning enabled him to learn the demographics of the county, which Scott said the committee will use to promote SPLOST.

VOICES 04 will be hitting football games and school meetings and will be calling residents using a phone bank.

The referendum as approved by the Clayton County Board of Education would fund the construction of three elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school.

It would also fund improvements throughout the school system, including the construction of a new technology building and improvements, renovations and additions to many existing schools.

The SPLOST is facing opposition from the Clayton County Libertarian Party. Party member Doug Craig said previously that the libertarians would mount an organized effort against the tax.

The current SPLOST passed almost five years ago with 65 percent of voters supporting the sales tax.

The committee has 20 members, including Dexter Matthews and Artansa Snell, members of the Clayton County NAACP; Gail Davenport, member of the Atlanta Bureau of Rainbow/PUSH and businessman Terry Cullen.