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Voters to decide on Orangeburg County School District's $190 million bond referendum

Orangeburg County residents will vote on these campus improvements at the polls on November 8.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The Orangeburg County School District's Board of Trustees have agreed on a comprehensive facilities plan that voters will decide on in November, which would be funded by a $190 million bond referendum. District leaders say the plan is designed to address their teacher shortage and underutilization of campuses.

For the past year, the district has held a series of facility and demography studies to get input on its plans for a $190 million bond referendum. 

RELATED: District presents plan for Lake Marion High school expansion

In a statement, superintendent Shawn Foster says in part, “With minor adjustments, we have truly been able to meet in the middle of the road and maintain the $190 million threshold so that we can improve schools and programs without a tax implication that would place a heavy load on community members."

With voter approval, it will fund the construction of a new elementary school on the Holly Hill Elementary campus. It will also fund a middle school wing on Lake Marion High School's campus and the construction of a new Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School. 

RELATED: Four schools would close for proposed new Orangeburg County elementary school

Community members weighed in on these plans at a April 27 input meeting at Lake Marion High School's campus.

“I think the community has been involved, insightful, and not only did you hear but you listened, considered, and responded," said one Orangeburg County resident.

Other people at the meeting expressed disapproval.

“I don’t think it's fair to our community. I really don’t," said another resident.

Under this proposal, upgrades will be made to Edisto Primary to prepare it for transitioning Rivelon Elementary students. There will also be construction of a new classroom wing at Clark Middle School to serve all centrally-located middle-level students. 

RELATED: Orangeburg Schools looking for community, parent input on facilities, schools

Howard Middle School is being renovated to prepare it for students transitioning from Whittaker, Brookdale, and Mellichamp.

District officials say although South Carolina schools does not receive funds for facility improvements, they are permitted to borrow 8% of the assessed property value for campus maintenance and upgrades.

County residents will vote at the polls on November 8. If approved by voters, the facility improvements are estimated to be completed by 2025.

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