Kershaw County, SC (WLTX) – Kershaw County voters have decided to take on a penny sales tax to pay for millions of dollars to help improve their schools.
“It can be difficult because we don't have a lot of space,” Fifth grade teacher Carolyn Clippard explained of the conditions at Wateree Elementary School. “I have 26 students, and we just don't have place to put everything.”
Wateree Elementary was built in the 1950s and as Clippard says it had had its share of problems.
“We have had to evacuate classrooms in the school several times because of different issues with plumbing and heating and air. Last year we had sewage backing up in the bathrooms,” Clippard elaborated. “We have outside walkways and that can be hard because of flooding issues.”
The teacher says the aging resources in the county just can't keep up with the changing technology needed in schools.
However, the issues now have an expiration date.
Voters chose to take on a penny sales tax to pay for 17 different projects including a brand new Wateree Elementary School and Camden Elementary School plus several upgrades and renovations.
“I'm excited about all of it, because we have some facilities that are in real need,” Kershaw County Superintendent Frank Morgan said. “I'm very excited about our technical education center ATEC, our career center being reconstructed next to Carolina Technical College because this is going to open up so many opportunities for young people in terms of career opportunities and well-paying career opportunities.”
“Oh yes I was so excited, so happy,” Clippard said with a smile.
The penny sales tax will last for 15 years to pay up to $129 million dollars' worth of school improvements.
Morgan says projects should be completed in four years.
“We’re really grateful for the community’s support on the referendum because we’re really excited about being able to use this opportunity and the resources involved to make this a better community, even better community than it is to live in and a great place to raise a family,” Morgan said.
A similar referendum failed back in 2014.
For more information on the projects and a breakdown of costs, please visit: http://www.kcsdschools.net/referendum
The district is now finalizing the project order and timelines with architects.