FORT MILL -- Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?
You can find out in a Fort Mill version of the television quiz show when the Keep Our Schools Strong community committee kicks off its March 4 school bond referendum campaign at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Nation Ford High School auditorium. Fifth-graders from each of Fort Mill's elementary schools will test select audience members on bond referendum trivia.
Prepare to be both informed and entertained. In addition to the quiz game, middle school cheerleaders and high school choral and ROTC members will participate. Brochures, yard signs and other materials will be distributed, and those interested in volunteering or requesting referendum speakers can sign up.
"This is going to be more than just a boring public presentation," said Ted Matthews, a co-chairman of the community committee. "We're going to have some pizzazz."
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2 questions, $96 million
Fort Mill school district residents will go to the polls March 4 to vote on two ballot questions totaling nearly $96 million:
• The first question seeks about $87.2 million for designing, constructing, equipping and furnishing a fourth middle school and an eighth and a ninth elementary school, plus acquiring land for future school sites;
• The second question asks about $8.7 million for an additional gymnasium at each of the high schools and a 5,000-seat stadium at Nation Ford High.
Any remaining funds would be used to maintain and improve existing district facilities.
Committee co-chairs Matthews, Lori Hillman and Wayne Bouldin hope about 500 people will turn out. The committee estimates that for every $100,000 of a property's assessed valuation, passage of both bond questions would cost the property owner about $50 a year, Hillman said.
The campaign kickoff just seven weeks before the referendum has been designed to create some post-holiday excitement, get people on board and make them realize the vote is coming up quickly.
"To kick it off before the holidays, I think it would have gotten lost in the shuffle," Hillman said.
Steering committee members have been planning and raising money for about two months and have garnered about half the $30,000 to $40,000 it will cost to promote the referendum, Matthews said. There are about 50 committee members, but more are sought to oversee neighborhood groups and other activities.
Informative meetings with school groups began this week, and more are being scheduled with clubs and organizations.
"This is clearly an issue that this entire community needs to be focused on," Matthews said. "Our hope is that over the next seven weeks, people will come to meetings, ask questions and find out how it will affect them and why it is important to invest in their community."
The cheerleaders wrote their own cheer based on referendum issues.
"They created it, which means they had to understand it first," Hillman said.
Better start studying if you want to be as smart as a fifth-grader.