March 22, 2014

Voters approve Clover school bond

Voters in the Clover School District said “Yes”Saturday to the $67 million bond referendum to pay for five construction projects.

Voters in the Clover School District said “Yes” Saturday to a $67 million bond referendum to pay for five construction projects.

The estimated cost of the five projects is about $99 million. School officials said the district will make a $32 million down payment.

Unofficial results Saturday night showed showed 2,650 voters, or 57 percent, said yes, while 1,984, or 43 percent, said no. Absentee and failsafe votes were 190 yes, 100 no. Votes will be certified Friday by the York County Voter Registration and Elections office.

Clover School District Superintendent Marc Sosne said he was pleased with the outcome.

“Now we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to implement our plan, and work quickly and efficiently to keep all the promises we made,” he said.

To those who oppossed the bond, Sosne said, “The door is open and we invite them to come and work with us.”

There are 24,245 registered voters in the Clover School District. About 19 percent, or 4,655, cast a vote.

Wanda Hemphill, director of York County Voter Registration and Elections, said, Saturday’s turnout was “fairly typical for a bond referendum. It falls within the range for what we’ve seen for them.”

About a dozen residents formed a group opposed to the bond referendum, saying it would create one of the largest high schools in the state.

Opinions at the pollsSaturday were varied. .

Sheila Walker of Clover, a school bus driver whose daughter is an assistant coach in the district, said, “Clover is really growing, so we need to do something about it.”

Chris Wallace of Clover and father of five children who are home schooled, said just before voting he was still “torn” and “sees both sides of the debate” of a small versus large high school.

The York County native said his decision would be based on “community unity and what’s best for the students versus what’s best for the community overall and not necessarily best for students.”

At the Scherer Memorial Presbyterian precinct, Brittany Doring of Lake Wylie said she wanted to make sure she cast her vote.

“There’s a lot of wasted money they’re trying to spend,” she said.

District officials estimate property taxes for owner-occupied homes will go up about $44 to $56 for each $100,000 of assessed value.

How the bond issue will affect businesses depends on how they are assessed. Owner-occupied homes are assessed at 4 percent and business tax assessments range from 6 percent to 10.5 percent, he said.

The five construction projects and cost estimates are:

• A new Lake Wylie elementary school on Oakridge Road, across from the middle school, to open in 2016: $25 million.
• A new middle school on Barrett Road north of Clover to replace the current Clover Middle School, to open in 2016: $40 million.
• A ninth grade academy for Clover High School in what is presently Clover Middle School, which would be remodeled, to open in 2017: $10 million.
• An aquatics and fitness center on S.C. 274 north of Crowders Creek Elementary School to be operated in partnership with the Upper Palmetto YMCA: $14 million.
• Athletic improvements, including synthetic turf on the fields at Memorial Stadium, and one field each at Clover High School and Clover Middle School, and renovations to the stadium including restrooms and ramps to bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act: $6 million.

The balance includes about $4 million for furnishings, equipment, landscaping and other costs.

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