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Gwinnett County Public Schools

Questions and Answers

‘The Plan’ is Gwinnett County Public Schools’ capital plan, but what is a capital plan?

To answer the question, it is important to acknowledge that there are two primary categories of expenditures in any school district.

Operating expenses include items such as teacher and other salaries, instructional materials, bus fuel, insurance, day-to-day cleaning and break-fix maintenance of schools, and utility bills. Funding for operating expenses is primarily provided through state allocations and local property taxes.

Capital expenses are costs associated with purchasing and renewing fixed assets such as buildings, vehicles, or land.   Capital expenditures include new school construction, facility renewal, bus and support vehicle replacement, safety and security investments like security cameras, technology, equipment, and other asset renewal.  

A capital plan identifies capital assets and investments needed to support our students and staff.  Given capital needs often exceed available funding, capital plans prioritize needs based upon the strategic vision of Gwinnett County Public Schools and the renewal cycles of fixed assets.

Gwinnett County Public Schools reviews its capital budget each year and updates the capital plan at least every five years.  

How do the taxpayers of Gwinnett County pay for ‘The Plan’?

There are two primary methods school districts in Georgia use to pay for capital, E-SPLOST and General Obligation Bonds (or GO Bonds).  To meet the growing and ongoing capital needs for our students, Gwinnett County Public Schools uses both methods.

The State of Georgia provides some funding for school construction and GCPS staff work hard to optimize available state funding; however, other resources are needed to maintain safe and appropriate learning environments for our students.

What is a SPLOST or E-SPLOST?

A "Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax" (commonly called SPLOST) is an optional 1% sales tax levied by counties and school systems for the purpose of funding capital expenditures. The "E" in E-SPLOST stands for "Education" and is specific to sales tax levied by school districts.  Since 1997, E-SPLOST has been the primary way Gwinnett County Public Schools has funded capital.  This has permitted GCPS to address the need for new school construction due to the growth of the county and to maintain facilities and capital assets without additional impact to property taxes.  Unlike property taxes, visitors to our county help pay for our educational investments.

What is the current E-SPLOST collection period?

The sales tax to fund our current capital plan began on July 1, 2022, and will end on June 30, 2027, or when GCPS has collected tax revenue in the amount included within the November 2020 referendum.

Could the School Board use the E-SPLOST penny sales tax for other things, like hiring more teachers or giving raises?

No.  By law, the penny sales tax can only be used for capital expenses such as new schools, renovations of existing facilities, technology, equipment, security improvements, and debt retirement related to previous capital efforts.  Sales tax revenue cannot be used for operating expenses such as salaries for teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and other critical staff.

How does E-SPLOST impact citizens without children?

The one-penny sales tax helps to keep property taxes down and minimizes the need for long-term debt.  Furthermore, non-residents who work, pass through, and shop in Gwinnett County help pay for these critical capital investments in education.