Two Midlands school districts will ask voters to help finance school construction and renovations.
In Lexington 2, a $225 million package of improvements would update 16 schools mostly built in the 1950s and 1960s – among the Midlands’ oldest public education facilities. It’s the first set of improvements that Lexington 2 has sought since 2002.
Supporters of the package say the schools are outdated in many ways – for example, some closets have been converted into classrooms at schools whose enrollment is double what facilities were built to house, while at some other schools, turning on too many computers simultaneously causes power outages.
While no organized opposition to the Lexington 2 plan has surfaced, it would mean an increase in property taxes if voters approve it.
In Kershaw County, voters will be asked to finance a second wave of school construction and renovation.
Voters are being asked to “vote yes twice” on two lengthy ballot questions. One would endorse a $130 million bond referendum to finance construction of four new elementary schools, renovate five middle and high schools, and upgrade school athletic facilities, among other projects. The second question calls for a penny sales tax to pay for the construction.
Supporters say the plan will lure more economic development and young families to the area. But opponents include tax watchdogs, along with some opposed to closing three small rural elementary schools as part of the plan – Bethune, Mount Pisgah and Baron DeKalb.
Carolyn Click, Tim Flach