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Election 2014: KCSD, Sunday sales referenda explained

Posted: October 28, 2014 5:35 p.m.
Updated: October 29, 2014 1:00 a.m.
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Tuesday, voters will go to the polls to vote for their choice of candidates for a variety of offices ranging from governor to Camden City Council seats. Voters are also being given a chance to determine whether or not the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) should move ahead with a series of $130 million 20-year bond-funded facility projects and levy a 1-cent sales tax for 15 years to repay those bonds. In addition, voters will decide whether or not to lift a county-wide ban on Sunday alcohol sales.

As part of its series of candidate and ballot issue recaps, the Chronicle-Independent is reprinting the entire text of both KCSD ballot questions, detailing each project and its cost, and providing an analysis of what it will mean if voters vote “yes” on both questions, “yes” for one question and “no” on another, or “no” for both questions. Information on the questions is taken directly from the KCSD’s website.

We will also offer the verbiage of the Sunday alcohol sales question and a brief explanation.

(Editor’s note: The C-I has added punctuation to or reformatted the questions slightly for easier review by our readers. We have not changed any of the actual wording of the questions.)

KCSD Question No. 1

Must a special one percent sales and use tax be imposed in Kershaw County for 15 years with the revenue of the tax used to pay, directly or indirectly, the cost of some or all of the following education capital improvement projects in Kershaw County?

1. Future Capital Projects including but not limited to:

• New Joint Use Facility

Applied Technology Education Campus

• New Facilities

Camden Elementary School

Lugoff Elementary School

Wateree Elementary School

North Central Elementary School

• Improvements, Additions and Renovations to Existing Facilities

Camden High School (including new stadium)

North Central Middle School

North Central High School

Lugoff-Elgin High School

Stover Middle School

2. If any Tax revenue remains after funding the Future Capital Projects listed above, it will be used to pay debt service on general obligation debt issued to pay the cost of the acquisition of existing school facilities.

All revenue received by the School District from the sales and use tax will be used to reduce property taxes needed to pay debt service on School District bonds or to directly pay costs of education capital improvements projects of the School District identified herein.

Yes [ ]

No  [ ]

Those voting in favor of the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word “Yes,” and those voting against the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word “No.”

KCSD Question No. 2

Shall the Board of Trustees of the School District of Kershaw County, South Carolina (the “School District”), be authorized to issue, at one time or from time to time, general obligation bonds of the School District in a principal amount not exceeding $130,000,000, the proceeds of which shall be used to finance the costs of land acquisition, if required, and the cost of constructing, improving, equipping (including technology), expanding, renovating and repairing school facilities within the School District, as follows:

• Applied Technology Education Campus

New joint use facility to be used in conjunction with Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) and the Kershaw County Economic Development Office to be located at the CCTC site on property donated by Kershaw County.

Camden Area

•Camden Elementary School

New facility located on property owned by the School District on Laurens Street.

•Camden High School

Improvements, additions and renovations to existing facility; Improvements to athletic facilities including constructing a football stadium on property owned by the School District on Ehrenclou Drive to replace Zemp Stadium.

North Central Area

• North Central Elementary School

New consolidated facility to replace Baron DeKalb, Bethune and Mt. Pisgah Elementary Schools to be located on property owned by the School District adjacent to North Central Middle School.

• North Central Middle School

Improvements and renovations to existing facility; construction of additional classrooms.

• North Central High School

Improvements and renovations to existing facility; improvements to athletic facilities.

West Wateree Area

• Lugoff Elementary School

New facility on property owned by the School District at the current site.

• Wateree Elementary School

New facility on property owned by the School District at the current site.

• Lugoff-Elgin High School

Improvements and renovations to existing facility; improvements to athletic facilities.

• Stover Middle School

Improvements and renovations to existing facility; additional classrooms.

If the voter wishes to vote in favor of the question, place a check or cross mark in the square after the words “In favor of the question;” if the voter wishes to vote against the question, place a check or cross mark in the square after the words “Opposed to the question.”

In favor of the question [ ] [Yes]

Opposed to the question [ ] [No]

Project details

• Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) -- the school would be moved to a new facility on the Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) campus near I-20 exit 98 to create a joint economic development campus. The campus would also include larger CCTC presence and larger Kershaw County Economic Development Office for industries to train staff.

Estimated cost: $28 million.

• Proposed North Central Elementary School -- Baron DeKalb, Bethune and Mt. Pisgah elementary schools would be combined in a new facility next to North Central Middle School. Redistricting would take place to allow current Bethune students who live closer to Midway Elementary to attend classes there. “Express buses” are proposed to limit bus travel for students in distant areas.

Estimated cost: $14.5 million

• Camden Elementary School -- the school would be reconstructed on the former Camden Middle School site on Laurens Street. The current site would be cleared and sold for residential development.

Estimated cost: $18.15 million

• Camden High School -- the school would undergo renovation and athletic facilities expanded to include a full stadium to replace Zemp Stadium. Athletic facilities would also include additional restrooms, concessions, parking and more. Floor coverings, doors, windows, painting and finishes, plumbing, electrical and security systems would be upgraded in the high school.

Estimated costs: $5.16 (academic); $5.44 million (athletic)

• Lugoff and Wateree elementary schools -- both schools would be reconstructed on their current sites.

Estimated costs: $18 million each.

• Lugoff-Elgin Elgin High School -- the school would be renovated, receiving floor covering upgrades; new doors and windows; painting and finishes; and plumbing, electrical and security systems. The school would also receive a refurbished auditorium, and roof and drainage system upgrades. Athletic upgrades include improvements to the main gymnasium, transition of the current visitors’ side to become the home side; and upgrades to softball and baseball facilities.

Estimated costs: $9.6 million (academic); $2.39 million (athletic)

• North Central High School -- the school would be renovated, receiving floor covering upgrades; new doors and windows; painting and finishes; and plumbing and electrical and security systems. Both high schools would also receive athletic facility improvements and upgrades. Athletic upgrades include an additional multipurpose room; renovation of the existing stadium playing surface and bleachers; improvements to the stadium press box, lighting and concession stands; and upgrades to baseball and softball facilities.

Estimated costs: $3.29 million (academic); $1.64 million (athletic)

• North Central and Stover middle schools -- each school would receive two special needs classrooms, as well as two science labs.

Estimated costs: North Central Middle School -- $1.9 million; Stover Middle School, $2.4 million

‘Yes’ or ‘No’ analysis

• Voting “yes” on both questions

Answering “yes” to both questions would authorize the school district to issue the up to $130 million in bonds in order to move forward with all the projects as listed. In addition, the district would be authorized to levy the 1-cent sales tax as a way to offset what would otherwise be a required property millage increase of 34 mills to repay those bonds.

• Voting “no” for the bond issue/project list but “yes” for the 1-cent sales tax

In this scenario, the district would be authorized to levy the 1-cent sales tax for 15 years, but would not be authorized to issue the $130 million in bonds, in effect rejecting the district’s project list. The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees would have to decide what capital projects to fund with the sales tax revenue. The district states that 1-cent sales tax revenue cannot be used for operational expenditures.

• Voting “yes” for the bond issue/project list but “no” for the 1-cent sales tax

If this occurs, voters would be authorizing the bond issue and project list, but -- without the 1-cent sales tax revenue -- 34 mills would be added to all business and residential property to fund the projects. According to the district’s website, this would cost an additional $11 per month, or $132 per year, per $100,000 of assessed value for property taxpayers for the 20-year duration of the bond.

• Voting “no” on both questions

Answering “no” to both questions would mean the district could not go ahead with issuing the 20-year $130 million bonds, that voters would be rejecting the project list and the 1-cent sales tax. It is unclear how the district would proceed with renovations and new construction with this outcome.

Sunday sales question

The “Sunday sales” referendum authorized earlier this year by Kershaw County Council will appear as follows on the Nov. 4 ballot:

“Shall the South Carolina Department of Revenue be authorized to issue temporary permits in this County of Kershaw, South Carolina, for a period not to exceed twenty-four hours to allow the possession, sale and consumption of alcoholic liquors by the drink to bona fide  nonprofit organizations and business establishments authorized to be licensed for consumption-on-premises sales and to allow the sale of beer and wine at permitted off-premises locations without regard to the days or hours of sales?

“In favor of the question / yes                          

“Opposed to the question / no”

While the word “Sunday” does not appear in the question, the final words -- “without regard to the days or hours of sales” -- refers to existing law forbidding the sale of alcohol on Sundays in Kershaw County. Residents in the city of Camden and town of Elgin voted in recent years to lift the ban within those municipalities.

If a majority of Kershaw County voters vote “yes” on this question, the ban on Sunday alcohol sales would be lifted county wide.

(Editor Martin L. Cahn contributed to this story.)

 

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