Voters in Lexington 1 school district will take to the polls in three weeks to decide whether school officials can borrow $365 million to build new schools and renovate others.
Supporters of the proposal, who have adopted the motto “every 1 wins,” say every district school would benefit from the proposal. But property owners will be taxed more, with homeowners paying $54 more a year for each $100,000 of their homes’ value. Business owners will pay $84 more in taxes for each $100,000 in value.
Lexington 1 is the second-largest school district in the Midlands and the sixth-largest school district in the state. It is home to some 26,300 students, 3,700 employees and 30 schools. For the past 15 years, the school district has grown an average of 505 students per year and is expected to receive 635 new students during the 2018-2019 school year.
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Should voters approve the referendum, part of the funds will be used to build two new elementary schools — in the White Knoll and River Bluff attendance areas — and to replace, relocate and increase capacity at some of the oldest schools in the county: Gilbert Elementary, Pelion Middle and Lexington Middle schools.
The largest portion of the money will be used for new schools. The three elementary schools and two middle schools will be built for $210 million total. Additions, renovations, safety and security improvements will be made with another $112.3 million. The rest of the money will be for technology ($27.5 million) and furniture ($15 million) upgrades.
In South Carolina, construction of new school buildings is financed almost entirely by local school districts through property taxes. But voters must approve whenever the district wants to go into debt beyond a certain amount.
This is the first-such referendum in Lexington 1 since 2008, when a $336 million bond was used to build five schools, issue technology and security upgrades and renovate 15 schools.
The referendum will be held in conjunction with the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. To get a sample ballot or find out more about voting in South Carolina, visit scvotes.org.
Which schools will get the most money?
Here’s how much each school is getting. For specifics on what the money will be used for at each school, click here.
Two new schools to replace Lexington Middle and Pelion Middle — $53 million each
One new elementary school in White Knoll attendance area — $37 million
Two new elementary schools to replace Gilbert Elementary and support River Bluff area — $33.5 million each
White Knoll High School — $29.95 million
Gilbert High School — $14.53 million
Oak Grove Elementary — $8.47 million
Lexington High School — $7.02 million
Pelion High School — $5.82 million
Carolina Springs Middle School — $4.18 million
Lexington Elementary — $4.13 million
White Knoll Elementary — $4.05 million
Gilbert Primary School — $3.25 million
New transportation facility — $3 million
Gilbert Middle School — $2.88 million
Pelion Elementary — $2.8 million
Lake Murray Elementary - $2.45 million
White Knoll Middle School - $2.39 million
Lexington Technology Center - $2.16 million
Fort Pond Elementary - $2.15 million
Lexington and Pelion middle schools - $2 million (to demolish)
Gilbert Elementary - $1.5 million (to demolish)
Red Bank Elementary - $1.37 million
Saxe Gotha Elementary - $1.3 million
Midway Elementary - $1.18 million
Pleasant Hill Elementary - $850,000
Carolina Springs Elementary - $780,000
Pleasant Hill Middle School - $460,000
New Providence Elementary - $401,000
Rosenwald Community Learning Center - $350,000
River Bluff High School - $175,000
Maintenance office - $140,000
Meadow Glen Elementary and Meadow Glen Middle School - $100,000 each
Deerfield Elementary - $15,000
Rocky Creek Elementary - $15,000