More classrooms and changes in attendance areas are needed to keep pace with a steady influx of students in Lexington 1, officials said Wednesday.
The need could lead to a package of new facilities and renovations – paid for with a property tax increase – that would be submitted to voters in the Midlands’ second-largest school district as soon as next year.
A referendum would be the first since 2008.
Steady growth is bringing about 500 new students a year to Lexington 1, pushing enrollment to 25,000 today in 30 schools in Lexington, Gilbert, Oak Grove, Pelion and Red Bank.
After discussion with Superintendent Greg Little and other staff, the school board will examine:
▪ Identifying what improvements are needed for the package that would be put on the ballot.
▪ Building a new middle school on U.S. 378 near Beechwoods Drive five miles west of Lexington, using surplus revenue to complete it in time for classes as soon as fall 2019.
▪ Reducing overcrowding at Middle Glen Elementary and Middle Glen Middle by shifting some students to Midway Elementary, New Providence Elementary and Lexington Middle. Those changes would start in the fall.
Those steps are vital to get schools ready to handle growth coming in the next five years, Little said.
The plan “relieves the stress of overcrowded schools and provides a window of opportunity for the district to construct the schools necessary to address the growth long-term,” he said.
Lexington 1 has opened 13 schools in the past 15 years, the last one Deerfield Elementary in Red Bank in 2014.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483
Asking voters for approval
Lexington 1 is the third and the largest district among five in 758-square-mile Lexington County to say recently that its facilities need significant improvements or additions.
It joins Lexington 3 in the Batesburg-Leesville area and Lexington 4 in the Gaston-Swansea area.
All the plans could share the ballot in 2018 with a proposal to extend the countywide penny sales tax that supports county schools.
Renovations are under way in classrooms in the Cayce-West Columbia after voters in Lexington 2 approved a $225 million package of improvements in 2014.