Lexington 2 seeking voter OK for school renovations

tflach@thestate.comFebruary 28, 2014 

  • New superintendent possible by this fall

    Lexington 2 could have its next superintendent in place this fall.

    A plan outlined by the South Carolina School Board Association calls for a search that ends with the choice as soon as Aug. 1.

    Current superintendent Venus Holland is retiring in mid-2015.

    School Board members want her successor on board early to learn on the job.

— A referendum for school improvements will be held Nov. 4 in Lexington 2.

School Board members agreed Thursday to ask voters to approve a package expected to mean higher taxes on homes, vehicles and businesses.

The makeup of the package and related tax hike is yet to be determined, with board members likely to take a few months to settle on those.

It’s the first package of improvements under consideration for Lexington 2 classrooms since 2002.

An advisory panel recommended two new elementary schools and extensive renovation of other facilities, a package whose preliminary price tag is $225 million.

It would take five years to build everything suggested, superintendent Venus Holland said.

Lexington 2 has 8,500 students in 16 schools – mostly built in the 1950s and 1960s – in Cayce, Pine Ridge, South Congaree, Springdale and West Columbia.

The school improvements plan could be one of two tax hikes that voters in those communities face this fall.

Lexington County officials are exploring a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase for road improvements and other projects.

Recommended school improvements under consideration include:

• Two new elementary schools, one consolidating students from Brookland-Cayce Grammar, Saluda River Academy for the Arts and Pineview Elementary and the other would merge pupils from Taylor Elementary and Davis Early Childhood Center.

• Extensive renovation of Springdale Elementary and Fulmer Middle.

• A vocational education center for high school students and a 1,000-seat fine arts center.

• Major repairs at all schools for problems like leaky roofs, outdated plumbing and wiring, inadequate ventilation, crowded cafeterias and insufficient digital technology.

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