2020 Bond Referendum » 2020 Bond Referendum

2020 Bond Referendum

 

General Information


On Tuesday, August 11th, the Lexington County School District Three Board of Trustees unanimously voted to pursue a bond referendum in the November 3, 2020 election. 


Two questions will be on the ballot. 


1. The first question, if approved by voters, will allow Lexington County School District Three to borrow up to $50 million dollars in general obligation bonds to fund renovations at B-L Primary, B-L Elementary and B-L High Schools. If this bond issue passes, residents and business owners can expect to have no mill or tax increase on any of their upcoming tax bills for Debt Service. For a detailed explanation of the renovations that would take place at each school, please continue reading below.

2. The second question is contingent upon the first question passing and, if approved by voters, would allow Lexington County School District Three to borrow up to $15 million dollars in general obligation bonds to finance the costs of constructing and equipping a new media center at B-L Primary School and a new competition gym at B-L High School.  In order for Lexington Three to borrow these additional funds, voters must not only approve this question, but they must also approve Question #1. 
 
These proposed improvements would affect the portion of property taxes homeowners pay called Debt Service, which goes toward repaying money borrowed for such things as school construction and capital projects. The current millage levy dedicated to Debt Service in Lexington County School District Three is 76.9 mills. (Please note that the current millage levy dedicated to Debt Service in Lexington Three was reduced from 84.6 mills to 76.9 mills by the Board of Trustees on September 8, 2020 as required by the 2020 Lexington County reassessment.)
 
If this question is approved, the millage levy would increase in Lexington County School District Three to 94.8 mills. (Please note this millage rate is different and lower than the one initially reported due to the recent Lexington County reassessment.)  Detailed information regarding tax implications for residents and business owners can be found below.
 
 

Detailed Information for Question #1


If Question #1 is approved by voters, the $50 million dollars will be spent to do the following renovations.


B-L Primary School - $12,491,459

  • New Cafeteria/Kitchen 
    • Would allow for a capacity of 500 students, expanded serving options, an outdoor dining area and modern commercial kitchen
  • Major School Renovations including
    • Repurposing of existing cafeteria/kitchen
    • Repurposing of guidance area
    • Repurposing of existing educational spaces
    • New fire alarm system
    • New sprinkler system
    • New LED lighting system
    • New flooring
    • New ceilings
    • New instructional spaces
    • Media Center improvements

B-L Elementary School - $4,462,918

  • New roofing system, including removal of the existing roof and installation of a new, 20-year roofing system
  • New HVAC system, including removal and replacement of existing units and addition of fresh air modifications

B-L High School - $33,044,414

  • Construction of a new 20,000 square foot building addition to include a new media center, band room, administration area, chorus room, entry canopy and secured entrance
  • Construction of a new 36,000 square foot Career and Technology Education wing to include technology/engineering programs, healthcare sciences, Project Lead The Way, advanced trade facilities, a secure corridor, fencing and enclosed service yard
  • Major School Renovations including
    • New roofing system, including removal of the existing roof and installation of a new 20-year roofing system
    • New HVAC system, including removal and replacement of existing units
    • Expansion of the existing cafeteria
    • Repurposing of existing administration area
    • New flooring
    • New ceilings
    • New windows
    • New band practice field
    • New LED lighting system
    • New fire alarm system
    • New sprinkler system
    • New security system including cameras

Tax Implications If Question #1 Passes

 

If this question is approved by voters, residents and business owners can expect to have no mill or tax increase on any of their upcoming tax bills for Debt Service.




Detailed Information for Question #2


In order for Lexington County School District Three to borrow the $15 million dollars in additional funds mentioned in Question #2, voters must not only approve Question #2, but they must also approve Question #1.  The $15 million dollars will be used to do the following work at B-L Primary and B-L High Schools.


B-L Primary School - $1,000,000

  • Construction and equipping of a new Media Center

B-L High School - $14,000,000

  • Construction and equipping of a new competition gymnasium

Tax Implications If Question #2 Passes

The proposed improvements mentioned in Question #2 would affect the portion of property taxes homeowners pay called Debt Service, which goes toward repaying money borrowed for such things as school construction and capital projects.  The current millage levy dedicated to Debt Service in Lexington County School District Three is 76.9 mills. (Please note that the current millage levy dedicated to Debt Service in Lexington Three was reduced from 84.6 mills to 76.9 mills by the Board of Trustees on September 8, 2020 as required by the 2020 Lexington County reassessment.)

If Question #2 is approved, the millage levy would increase in Lexington County School District Three to 94.8 mills. (Please note this millage rate is different and lower than the one initially reported due to the recent Lexington County reassessment.) Taxpayer impact on properties owned can be viewed below. 

 

 

How Did The Board Reach This Decision?


The Lexington County School District Three Board of Trustees began the work of studying the district’s facility needs in 2016 by commissioning a study of all district-owned buildings.  The project was led by retired architect Don Altman, who served as a consultant for Thompson Turner Construction Company.  Mr. Altman and his team looked at the district’s educational philosophy, conducted faculty and staff interviews and inspected the district’s facilities to assess their architectural, mechanical/plumbing, electrical and civil states.  Mr. Altman’s full report can be found in the corresponding file.  After reviewing Mr. Altman’s findings, the Board of Trustees determined that B-L Primary and B-L High Schools needed the most urgent attention, with priority being given to addressing the immediate safety, student growth and aging building issues at both schools.   


In the years following Mr. Altman’s report, Lexington Three addressed numerous improvements that had been recommended in the study through a series of general obligation bonds issued by the Board of Trustees’ 8% borrowing debt capacity.    


In 2018, the Board of Trustees attempted to tackle some of the larger, more expensive projects listed in the 2016 facilities study by pursuing a $90 million bond referendum.  If it had passed, the referendum would have provided for extensive renovations and additions to the existing B-L Primary School facility and would have funded construction of a brand new B-L High School.  The referendum, however, did not receive voter approval.  


Since then, the Board of Trustees has been exercising its 8% borrowing capacity to further address the existing and growing list of needs at the primary and high schools.  Some of these updates have included renovating the science classrooms at B-L High School, replacing HVAC units at B-L Primary School, relocating one of the playgrounds at B-L Primary School, and rewiring stadium lighting at B-L High School.  In addition, the Board of Trustees elected to enlarge the parking lot at B-L Primary School, erect new canopies on the outside of the building to allow for greater protection from weather elements, and construct a new, separate bus loop in an effort to alleviate traffic woes.  A new addition at the front of B-L Primary School will also house the school’s administrative offices.  These construction efforts are expected to wrap up sometime in the next few weeks.


While the Board of Trustees has worked tirelessly over the past few years to be responsible stewards of taxpayer funds, it estimates that it still needs the monies proposed in the 2020 referendum to adequately address all of the district’s immediate facility needs and to expand the learning and extracurricular opportunities available to students.  Under South Carolina law, the school district cannot borrow enough money to fund the proposed construction projects without the approval of the voters in its district.

 
 


What Happens Next?

 

Two bond referendum questions will appear on the November 3, 2020 election ballot. The exact wording of the questions can be found in the accompanying document.

 

 

Public Meetings

 

Lexington Three wants to ensure that community members have an opportunity to learn more about how the district’s Board of Trustees reached the decision to pursue a referendum and ask questions about the referendum. As a result, two public meetings are planned. Both meetings will be held at the Lexington Three Fine Arts Center (located on the campus of B-L High School/600 Summerland Avenue in Batesburg-Leesville). Participants will be required to wear a mask and are asked to please follow all social distancing guidelines.

Meeting Dates and Times:
October 13th at 6 pm
October 27th at 6 pm