Coweta County voters made a smart decision Tuesday in approving a new, five-year sales tax for local public schools to replace the one that expires in June, even though just 4 percent of voters turned out at the polls.
Too many people weigh their decision to vote on the number of items on the ballot, as if they were pondering whether to make an errand run. But, even though there was only one question on the ballot here Tuesday, it was worth the trip.
Fortunately, two-thirds of those who did make the effort chose to back the sales tax. It was a vote to maintain the quality of our schools, the county’s largest employer and a key component in our continued economic growth.
It would be hard to argue that building maintenance, security systems and school buses aren’t worthwhile purchases. And if they are indeed worthwhile, a sales tax is the best way to fund them, far better than a hike in property taxes, debt or cutting classroom instruction to come up with the money.
This last point deserves amplification because those who opposed the sales tax have repeated the argument against federal taxes that cutting waste is sufficient to fund most proposals. Well, the Newnan-Coweta County School System is run better than the federal government, and the only way to get enough money from current school operations is by cutting classroom instruction, which represents roughly 90 percent of operational expenses.
Now that the school board has this $95 million, it will be up to all of us to make sure it is spent correctly.