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Citizen committee to promote Phase 2 referenda

Posted: July 31, 2014 4:59 p.m.
Updated: August 1, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson cautioned district employees and school board trustees Monday not to aid any efforts to support two referendums tied to Phase 2 of the district’s facilities equalization project (FEP).

Wilson’s warning came during what was supposed to have been a combined full meeting of the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees and of its facilities/finances committee. Without a quorum present, however, only the facilities/finance portion of the meeting took place. The meeting took place at noon, instead of 6 p.m. as usually scheduled.

If a quorum of trustees had been present, the board would have voted on referendum language concerning the Phase 2 list of projects. Trustees would have also voted on a bond issue tied to Phase 1 of the FEP.

Most of the facilities/finance committee discussion focused on what steps would need to be taken for citizens in favor of the referendums on the ballot this November to form a committee to actively support them. Wilson said various citizens have expressed a desire to form a committee to actively support passing the referenda through face-to-face contact and advertising.

“No public funds could be used to assist any committee, nor could any KCSD trustee or employee aid any committee’s efforts,” Wilson said.

In addition to the project list referendum, voters will have the chance to decide for or against a referendum setting a 1-cent sales tax to help offset an expected millage increase from the $130 million bond issue to pay for Phase 2 projects.

Wilson explained said the bond issue would add on a 35-mil increase to property owners in Kershaw County. With a passing of the 1-cent sales tax, that millage would be reduced to 17 mills. Wilson said that by refinancing current debt, satisfying existing leases, and reducing leases going forward, the district might save another 9 mills. This means that instead of paying an additional 35 mills, the increase will only be 9 mills.

Wilson also briefed trustees on anticipated revenues if the resolution passed.

“Don’t hold me to it, but it could earn nearly $5 million per year,” he said.

Wilson went on to remind trustees that the money could also be used to pay off part of $12 million still owed on the first phase of the program to repair existing facilities and to construct new ones.

KCSD Executive Director of Operations Billy Smith informed trustees of his department’s accomplishments in repairing and improving multiple schools and facilities over the summer. Smith listed practically every school in the district in his report, and praised the efforts of his staff.

Some of the improvements Smith mentioned included a cafeteria renovation at North Central High School, painting the entrance way at Lugoff-Elgin High School, planting new grass in the playground at Camden Middle School, replacing worn carpet with tile at the Continuous Learning Center, and installing three classroom cottages at Camden Elementary School.

Trustees will next meet at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at the district’s offices on DeKalb Street.



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