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Chester school bond fails for the 3rd time in 4 years

The bond would have paid for two brand new high schools and updates for other schools

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — For the third time in four years, Chester County residents voted down a school bond referendum. This time the referendum was for $263 million and promised several new schools and updates to buildings.

The district said these were necessary changes, but taxpayers disagreed with the high price tag.

“I want to make very clear that all the folks who decided to vote no, it’s not that they don’t care about our schools," Chester County Councilmember Pete Wilson said. "It’s not that at all. Unfortunately, this plan just had a lot of flaws and one of the biggest flaws of all was the price tag.”

Credit: WCNC Charlotte

According to numbers shared by the school district, the bond would’ve increased taxes on a $100,000 home by $400 a year.

Meanwhile, the US census says about 18% of Chester County residents live in poverty.

RELATED: Old, unsafe school buildings in Chester County are one of several reasons for bond referendum

"If we could tackle the problems in increments that we could afford, and as the public starts to see results, as we see results from our investment, I think public support will build," Wilson said. 

Chester County Superintendent Antwon Sutton said the schools face a long list of issues, including several unsecured entrances, small classrooms, and old restrooms, which haven’t been addressed for years.

“The main thing for me right now is that our children of this county are not going to be able to have facilities, modern facilities that they need to help foster their education in this county," Sutton said.

RELATED: Chester County residents to vote on $263 million bond this week

Sutton said the school board will discuss next steps at an upcoming meeting. Possibilities include another version of the bond referendum in November or funding projects in small increments over the next few decades.

“We will continue to try to work with the community on it and the ultimate plan that will be supported county-wide, so we will have a different outcome in a future referendum," Sutton said.

Contact Indira Eskieva at ieskieva@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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