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School Board Approves $179M Ref for Nov Ballot

Dorchester County School District Two seeks funds for school improvements and construction of new schools.

Dorchester Two's school board unanimously approved placing a $179-million referendum on the November ballot this week.

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The referendum asks voters to vote for or against the bond, and then asks a follow-up question, dependent upon the first question being approved. The second part of the question asks whether or not voters would approve another $7.5 million to go toward building an aquatic center.

The aquatic center would teach water safety to all elementary school students in the district, and would be partnered with the YMCA, which would handle the operation and facility maintenance, and provide a life guard, according to Dorchester Two spokeswoman Pat Raynor. 

Here is how the questions will look to voters:

Question 1:

Shall the Board of Trustees of School District No. 2 of Dorchester County, South Carolina, be authorized to issue and sell, either at one time as a single issue or from time to time as several separate issues, general obligation bonds of School District No. 2 of Dorchester County in the aggregate principal amount of not exceeding $179,910,000, the proceeds of which shall be applied to defray costs of issuance of such bonds and the costs of:

a. the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of three elementary schools and a middle school of the arts;

b. renovations, repairs, expansions, equipment and furnishings at Eagle Nest Elementary, Flowertown Elementary, Newington Elementary, Oakbrook Elementary, Summerville Elementary, Alston Middle, Oakbrook Middle, Ashley Ridge High, Fort Dorchester High and Summerville High; and

c. capital improvements at other facilities of the School District to include conversion of Rollings Middle School of the Arts to office/administrative space, roof repairs, improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning and installing wireless throughout the School District

In favor of the question [ ]

Oppose to the question [ ]

Question 2:

In the event that Question 1 above is approved, shall the Board of Trustees of School District No. 2 of Dorchester County, South Carolina, be further authorized to issue and sell, either at one time as a single issue or from time to time as several separate issues, general obligation bonds of School District No. 2 of Dorchester County in the aggregate principal amount of not exceeding $7,500,000, the proceeds of which shall be applied to defray costs of issuance of such bonds and the costs of designing, constructing, equipping and furnishing an aquatic center?

In favor of the question [ ]

Oppose to the question [ ]

According to district Chief Financial Officer Allyson Duke, a referendum in this amount would create an increase of $84 on a $100,000 house and $25 on a $20,000 car in the county. 

According to Dorchester County Auditor J.J. Messervy, an owner-occupied home in the limits of Summerville currently pays $685.20 per $100,000, adjusted with property tax relief but not including fees. A non-owner-occupied home in town pays $2,095.20 per $100,000, adjusted with property tax relief but not including fees.

The referendum and .

Gretchen August 16, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I thought we had the EDUCATION LOTTERY to help the schools ! How about a nice hefty IMPACT FEE to help the schools ??
Richard Hayes August 16, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Gretchen -- the Education Lottery is for funding students to go to College, not for Elementary and Secondary Schools.
Gretchen August 16, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Well, Richard, maybe we should worry more about improving the elementary schools -- so we are not 49th out of 50 states again.
Stephanie August 17, 2012 at 10:28 AM
This referendum IS about improving our schools, elementary, middle, and high schools. Do you realize that almost ALL of our elementary schools are 200 students or more OVER capacity? Yet, our schools continually perform well on the state and national report cards. Imagine what we could do as a district with optimum conditions? I would challenge you all to go for a tour of one of our schools during a school day and see what our teachers are able to do with what they have and THEN offer an opinion. The referendum will cost the majority of homeowners the cost of a latte a month. Please community support this! (and yes, I am a homeowner)
Gretchen August 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Stephanie ... you say this would cost the majority of homeowners "the cost of a latte a month." WHAT ??? The article says "According to district Chief Financial Officer Allyson Duke, a referendum in this amount would create an increase of $ 84 on a $100,000 house and $25 on a $20,000 car in the county. " $84 on the house and $25 on the car is hardly the cost of a latte. ( SIDE THOUGHT I wonder why the car taxes are being used for schools?)
Joe Fuller August 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Personally I have no problem supporting the growth of our community so I will do my part. The issue is we have lulled ourselves into believing the education system in DD2 is great. I have witnessed teachers (ok I won't generalize with this as being all) texting while in front of the classrooms. The last time I looked there is no curriculum on a cell phone. Our District is really pandering to the No Child Left Behind Act. They will jump leaps and bounds to help those children that struggle wh don't get the support from hom but will not challege our gifted children. They would rather use them as gophers since they believe they can aford to miss class time. This is unacceptable.
Joe Fuller August 18, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Ok now I am sorry about my misspelling in the previous post. My passion on the subject got to me. Personally, I have pulled my children out of the school system to which I am not satisfied. There are great teachers but it is like playing the lottery to think my children will be linked with them and I am not willing to risk my children's future on what someone else may be teaching them. With that said we have decided to homeschool our children so that we have the freedom to give them a Christian Education without fearing the repercussion of believing in Jesus, giving thanks for our meals, or even placing our hands over our hearts and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. We now decide what our children will learn and have no regrets.
Gretchen August 19, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Joe .. you are to be commended. My son and his wife are doing the same thing (in the Chicago area). It's sad that our schools can't seem to insist on some discipline so the teachers can spend their time TEACHING, We need to start expelling the kids who disrupt the classes, and also have TRADE SCHOOLS for those who just are not interested in history, etc.
Ashley September 10, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Richard - The South Carolina Education Lottery is spending $92.1 MILLION dollars on K-12 education this year.
LInda Ensor October 06, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I understand the school board hired an outside consultant who is being paid $87,000 to get this passed. Let me see... that would be about 3 new teachers.... This board and superintendent simply refuse to look at any innovative ways to solve the district's problems. More schools doesn't equal better education. No one -- not an administrator, board member or teacher -- attended a conference in the spring held in Columbia where the State Board of Ed hosted the Center for Excellence in Education. Many innovative, creative, and excellent ideas THAT HAVE WORKED ELSEWHERE were introduced, but I was the only person from Dorchester County in the room. That tells me everything I need to know. VOTE NO.
Gretchen October 07, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Linda.. you are right. And the other thing is... if you want to pass a school referendum, you don't do it during a PRESIDENTIAL election, when more people than ever come out to vote. You do it when you expect a LOW TURNOUT, and then you get all the people who are FOR IT to come out and vote. So, it's a huge waste of money ! If none of these board members, teachers or administrators attended a conference to help them be more innovative ... it's a sad case !
Billy October 31, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Here's another thought. How easy has it been to find any information on the bond? It seems like the school board is trying to slip this one in under the radar. Sure there have been meetings to discuss this bond but how many of you have attneded? Otherwise it has been very difficult to find any information on this. Nothing on the DD2 web site or county council web site. Thanks to the "Patch" for keeping us in the loop. I thought the Journal Scene was the place to go but they seem to have been one sided on this issue. I object to the bond. Plus, if I read it correctly it could be more than a one time deal. In other words. If they like, they will continue to issue bonds as needed. You know,...once they start it they will be hard pressed to stop it. Then they throw in an Aquatic Center to lure us in to voting FOR it. Didn't we vote FOR a tax increase for Recreation? Why don't we use that money for the Aquatics Center? We also voted FOR a road tax. Then why a property tax for this? So then the more you own the more you pay! Let's do it this way. Increase sales taxes in DD2 so everyone pays not just property owners. I think home renters have kids that go to school too. I would like to pay even though I don't have kids in schools any more but i don't want to pay this way. VOTE THIS ONE DOWN. JUST SAY NO! There's a better way to do this.
Tom Utley October 31, 2012 at 05:18 PM
When the community grows, tax revenue grows. So if we have to build all these expensive buildings because of community growth, then where's the tax revenue that should go with it?
Tom Utley October 31, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Wow Linda, that's amazing. I agree with you, the only people this will help is the construction companies (who are lobbying for the referendum) that will land all these juicy contracts to build fancy buildings. I say we move towards less government schools. We don't have to wait on the feds or even the state to do so. We could spend our money better here in Dorchester by finding ways to encourage alternative schooling methods than big huge public schools.
Tom Utley October 31, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Oh and PS - it's also pretty sad that nobody on the school board or running for school board attended the conference or has presented any alternative ideas other than this Bond. It's like they're saying "vote for me so I can do absolutely nothing but pretend that I'm a good leader because I happened to be in office while all these schools were built."
Billy October 31, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Part of an optimum condition would be to pay our teachers and optimum salary. If we could get and keep quality teachers they could teach under a tree and still get the optimum report card.
Billy October 31, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Tom, and Dorchester County is one of the fastest growing counties on the country let alone the state. so...yeah...what is DD2 doing with this increasing tax money from growth? Good call.
Gretchen October 31, 2012 at 06:48 PM
The increased amount of TAXES paid by the new houses NEVER COVERS the increased cost of everything. Just think about it... more schools, more police, bigger sewage treatment plants, more capacity at the water company, more firemen, bigger libraries, wider streets, more traffic lights. We pay so little taxes around here, there is NO MONEY to pay the teachers and police a decent wage. However, the school referendum only pays for the BUILDING of the school. There will be MORE COSTS for desks, books and teachers. I really don't think this referendum is going to pass in this lousy economy !
Tom Utley October 31, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Don't we pay a water and sewage bill? I know I do. That's beside the point though. If it costs the government more to keep up with population growth than the revenue the population growth brings in... then maybe there's something wrong with the idea that the government should be providing all these services in the first place. Just a thought.
Gretchen October 31, 2012 at 07:22 PM
YES TOM we pay a sewer and water bill ... but do you really think that takes care of all the expenses they have? NO ! They need IMPACT FEES ... but as long as we keep electing people who are bought and paid for by the realtors and developers, the tax payers are going to keep paying OVER AND OVER. Who pays for a traffic light at an intersection where there are 100 new homes? THE DEVELOPER??? Or the taxpayers. I'd like to know the answer to that question.

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