BOE decides against putting bond referendum on November ballot

  • 6 August 2020
  • Author: Dan McNiel
  • Number of views: 488

Marlboro County Board of Education decided against placing a question on the November ballot for a $15 million bond referendum.
The Board of Education had to deliver a referendum question to the Voter Registration office by Aug. 15.
If the question had been approved, it would have been increasing taxes between 11.5 and  13 mills.
Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord felt the voters should decide whether $15 million will be enough to keep the district moving in the right direction.
Some of the possible uses of the money would have been improving HVAC systems.
Voters approved a $10 million general obligation bond in November of 2018 for the Marlboro County School District. It was done without a millage increase.
“Where would the condition of our buildings be right now?” McCord asked. “They would be in much worse shape because we would not have done anything.”
 David Loadholt,  construction project manager   for the district, made a presentation about the 2018 Bond Referendum project. He talked about the various projects and how the $10 million bonds had been used to take care of $15 million worth of projects for the district.
Several board members expressed concerns about raising the mills during a pandemic.
Vice-chairman Michael Coachman said the uncertainty had him concerned.
“Right now, it’s a tough time with the millage increase and uncertainty of jobs,” he said.
Board member Jackie Branch agreed it was not the time to raise taxes during a pandemic.
McCord agreed they were in a pandemic but wanted them to think about where the district would be if the voters had not had an option in 2018.
Board member Katherine Manville also felt it wasn’t the time to do it and suggested they postpone it for a year.
She commended McCord for having a plan in place.
“But right now, the way things are I feel like it would be better to postpone it for a year,” Manville said.
Board member Macky Norton said when they have talked about finances for the district that it isn’t the 2020-21 year that everyone is concerned about.
“It is the 2021-22 school year that we may find ourselves in extreme financial problems,” he said.
Board member Nan Fleming agreed that the next two years would be difficult and the district was operating under a continuing resolution for the new fiscal year.
“We have done a lot with the money (from the 2018 bond),” she said. “Today, there is too much uncertainty.”
Chairman Larry McNeil said he could see a need as they saw it two years ago.
“If we don’t do it now when will we do it,” he said.
But, he added, he would like to see where they are next year before doing anything.
Board member Rev. James Smith made a motion to place the question on the November ballot. 
McNeil asked twice for a second to the motion. The motion died due to a lack of a second.
Then Board member Danny Driggers asked McCord to bring back a plan that would call for fewer mills.
At the July meeting, a presentation was made for three options -$7 million, $10 million and $15 million bonds.
Driggers asked if any of the board would be interested in looking at something for fewer mills.
No one was interested in this and the meeting moved to another agenda item.

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