On September 19, 2006, the citizens of Chatham County approved an Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST). ESPLOST I went into effect January 1, 2007. This additional penny of sales tax was estimated to generate up to $330 million in five years. The funds were to be used to retire existing bond debt over the five-year period and to build new schools while improving existing educational facilities.
By using ESPLOST funds to pay this bond debt, property owners of Chatham County save the millage rate equivalent of that $67 million dollars over the five-year period. The remaining funds were used to build seven new schools (two on new sites and five on replacement sites), provide additions and renovations to several school sites, provide significant upgrades to existing facilities, and provide much needed technology upgrades to the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.