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Fayette ESPLOST collections now down by nearly 17%

Another school system woe: Actual money collected from the education sales tax now is expected to fall nearly 17 percent short of original expectations, or $19.3 million less than projected.

The Fayette County School System’s penny sales tax for education (ESPLOST) is a little more than half way through the collection period that spans five years. The maximum collection ceiling was established at $115 million though the current projection puts potential collections at $95.7 million.

A Dec. 12 report to the Fayette County Board of Education by school system Comptroller Laura Brock noted that revenues from the ESPLOST that began in the spring of 2009 might fall short of the $115 million maximum. The current projection shows that revenues could fall short of the collection ceiling by the end of the five-year collection period, coming in at $95.7 million.

The reason for the decrease in the projection is clearly the results of the depressed local economy.

The school system is just over half way into the five-year collection cycle. Passed by voters in November 2008, collections began in the spring of 2009.

A little more than a year ago the collections projection was placed at $102 million. But that was then and the local economy is still sputtering a year later.

Brock in earlier statements said it does not appear at this point that any of the numerous expenditures from the collections will be in jeopardy, though some might have to be scaled back.

ESPLOST funds are designated for various technology components, debt service, security, textbook purchases, facility improvements and bus purchases.

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