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Information about our February 13, 2018 School Bond Referendum

This month’s blog is meant to educate the public about the upcoming bond referendum vote on February 13, 2018. We are about 5 days away from the vote, and I wanted to take a minute to share an article from my interview on Monday with the Chester News and Reporter. In an effort to dispel some inaccurate information, please see the copy of the article below. Many thanks to the News and Reporter for publishing the interview for clarification.

“As the day of the voting for the school bond referendum gets closer, the Chester County School District is working to provide as much information to the public as they can about the referendum, which if passed, will authorize the school district to issue bonds up to $38 million for the construction of a new Career and Workforce Development Center and taking care of maintenance issues for almost every school in the district.

Several what the district calls “myths” have surfaced in the county concerning the referendum, and District Superintendent Dr. Angela Bain said Monday that she is trying to dispel them. Some of these comments have surfaced in the pages of a brochure, which states it has been ‘developed and paid for by concerned citizens of Chester County.’

“We have been hearing some comments that this bond referendum is about consolidation. It is not about consolidation. In fact, that is the furthest thing from our minds right now, because we have this growth all over the county. We have to prepare for that growth – this bond referendum and what we will be able to build is one of the steps in preparing for that growth, and in response to industry. We’ve said this all along,” Dr. Bain said.

“If you still have questions about the bond referendum, these are some of the myths and the facts to dispel them,” Dr. Bain said.

Myth: This bond referendum is about consolidating our high schools.

Fact: The Chester County School Board is not in favor of consolidation. This referendum does not address consolidation and any future discussion of consolidation will be with the input (and a possible vote on a referendum) of the citizens of Chester County.

“When we were a small district, and we were losing enrollment, and we weren’t growing, I can see where consolidation might have been a conversation. But at this point, we already know this school district has to plan for future growth, and if the growth is in Chester, which it is and in the Richburg –Lewisville area (and we are getting reports every day of more rooftops being built) our district has to be prepared for that.”

“If there was consolidation in the works at some point, you have to look at all that growth. If there was talk of consolidation then, it can’t be right now, because if you were to consolidate with all the proposed growth coming we’re seeing in all of these areas, you really wouldn’t need to consolidate – you have enough students and the potential for students is there to have these high schools,” she said.

“With future growth coming, you don’t have the option to consolidate, because you have too much growth potential coming in,” said Dr. Bain.

Myth: The school district paid $15,000 an acre for the 89-acre tract and the 18-acre tract where the new Career and Workforce Center would be built. This is too much to pay per acre.

Fact: It is true that the district paid $15,000 per acre (or will pay on passage of the bond referendum) for parcels that already have infrastructure in place – water, sewer and natural gas. Other parcels of land in the county have sold for $22,000 plus per acre. If the school district purchased a parcel of undeveloped land, they would have to pay the cost of the land and the cost of improving it, which would be about $18,000 per acre.

Myth: The school district will maintain the old Chester County Career Center.

Fact: The old Career Center will be demolished, all but the back portion of the building, which is the newer addition. That will become the school district maintenance office.

Myth: The location will be for a Career and Workforce Center and a consolidated high school.

Fact: The property is only for a Career and Workforce Readiness Center and Adult Education Center as part of this bond referendum.

Myth: The acreage purchased was more than was needed.

Fact: The reason so much acreage was purchased was because it was offered for sale that way. If the district had purchased less than the acreage offered for sale, it’s likely the cost per acre would have been much higher. The S.C. Department of Education’s Office of School Facilities (OSF) and the S.C. DOT reviewed and evaluated the land before the school district even made an offer on the property and said this was one of the best properties for a school site they have seen.

Myth: We don’t need a new career center; all of the three high schools need repairs and updating.

Fact: In addition to the funds for the Career and Workforce Center, the bond referendum also includes funds (approximately $13 million) for deferred maintenance in all three high schools and schools across the district.

“With this bond we are taking care of the deferred maintenance in all of the high schools and all of the schools, so we don’t have to build something right away,” said Dr. Bain.

“The location is central to the county so all students can have access to it,” she added.

“Right now, the district and the school board feel an urgency to prepare for the next wave of growth out in this part of the county,” she said.

District News and High Fives......

Congratulations to Chester County School District Adult Education. They received 3 awards this past Friday. Our Adult Education program:

- Met all performance goals for all levels

-Top 5 programs in the state based on highest aggregate

-Met post testing goals

High Five to all teachers and district staff as we worked through technology issues and went back to pen and paper for a week! Thank you for your understanding and patience as we continue to recover. (Pictures posted below of students in the classrooms without technology)

Congratulations to Mrs. Denise Chavis for being Rock Star Teacher of the Month!

Remember that Monday, February 19, 2018 will be a normal school day. This is our first weather make up day.