School Board Debates Use for Old Highschool

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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The Sumter County School Board met on April 9th. Amber Batchelor shared information with the Board on the Peach Tax Credit. “So this education tax credit is available for all school districts within the state of Georgia for them to collaborate on innovative projects.”

Batchelor gave details. “So the tax credit itself is a pool of funds, that is $5 million, for every project that is submitted to the state of Georgia for an innovative or transformative purpose. The tax credit means that any individual . . . depending on how they file, has the opportunity to donate your state income tax between $1,000 and $2,500 to an approved project on this list.”

She mentioned that businesses also had the ability to participate. “Businesses, on the other hand, have an opportunity to donate up to 75% of their state income tax to this project, or to whichever project is identified by your school district.”

Knighton addressed the Board. “One of the things that we talked about was the opportunity for us to look at The Center for Innovation and Prosperity, and to be able to have that specific project for us, and that was one of the things that we submitted to the GA foundation for public education. And so we’ve received approval already for that particular project and to be able to utilize this particular tax credit for that particular purpose.”

In a previous article, Batchelor shared details about the proposed Center for Innovation and Prosperity. She mentioned how it would provide opportunities for students to be introduced to different job skills. Batchelor stated the project could provide training for students in Sumter and neighboring Counties and would occupy the old high school.

Batchelor mentioned they had requested $1.5 million for phase one, which would include all predesign work and engineering studies.

She also mentioned the maximum amount that can be slated for the tax. “So there’s $5 million assigned to this tax credit for all the projects that they approved.”

Chair Patricia Harris started a discussion as to whether the board should let the YMCA use the old high school building.

Kearse asked about upkeep. “And they would take care of it, and run it, and pay insurance on it and everything?”

Barnes noted that Kearse made a point. “We have lots of opportunities to do wonderful things with that building, but as a board we need to understand that whatever we do with it, there is a line of demarcation, either its ours, or somebody else’s, to insure, to maintain, and to do all the upkeep.”