The Delta Air Lines Foundation this week announced it will help Clayton County Public Schools continue funding projects following Georgia tax reforms.
The foundation expects to make grants to the school district through the end of 2019 to offset revenue that will no longer be collected under the change.
In 2014, the FAA ruled that local sales taxes on jet fuel must be spent to directly fund aviation. This ruling meant that any jet fuel sales taxes, as authorized by Georgia statutes and the Georgia Constitution, designated for other uses, including education, are out of compliance with federal law. Delta has been in discussions with Clayton County Public Schools for more than a year to find a solution to the issue of the collection by the state of jet fuel taxes under the county's local option referendum approved sales tax for education.
"The foundation wants to ensure that no Clayton County Public Schools project that depends on this local option sales tax for education goes without funding," said Paul Jacobson, Trustee, The Delta Air Lines Foundation. "The children of many Delta employees and customers attend Clayton County schools, and this is essential to our core values of supporting the communities where we live, work and serve."
In 2017, the tax amounted to more than $8 million, which Delta continued to pay for the benefit of Clayton County Schools even while an appeal over the ruling was pending.
"I want to express my sincere gratitude to Delta in seeking a beneficial resolution to support Clayton County children and schools," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Morcease J. Beasley. "I believe as leaders, our priorities should always remain on the public and rendering decisions that are continually within the best interest of the city, county and state residents, and when we all work together for the advancement of all, that is when we can really achieve the desired outcomes that are beneficial to all.
"The decisions of Gov. Nathan Deal, the Georgia General Assembly and the Delta Foundation clearly put the needs of the group over the wants of the few and I thank them for working with us to provide solutions that will allow us to remain focused on the work of achieving high performance. We are hopeful that this collaborative approach focused on doing what is right and best for children will continue well beyond the current situation," he concluded.