FORT MILL -- Fort Mill school district cheerleaders, ROTC cadets, vocalists and fifth-graders Tuesday night displayed their talents at Nation Ford High School, all to convince the some 200 people in the auditorium that they deserve their votes of confidence in the March 4 school bond referendum.
Keep Our Schools Strong community committee co-chairs Ted Matthews, Lori Hillman and Wayne Bouldin kicked off the bond referendum campaign Tuesday with some statistics, student entertainment and their own version of the TV show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-grader?" District fifth-graders, who had done their referendum homework, proved they knew more about the referendum than four audience members, who, not unwittingly, demonstrated that school district students are very smart.
Fort Mill school district residents are being asked to vote on two ballot questions totaling nearly $96 million in the March 4 referendum:
• The first question seeks about $87.2 million for designing, constructing, equipping and furnishing a fourth middle school and the district's eighth and ninth elementary schools, plus acquiring land for future school sites.
• The second question asks for 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.
"Classes are being held on stages and in storage rooms," Bouldin told the crowd. "Some sports teams begin practice as early as 6 a.m. Some don't leave until 9 p.m."
The committee estimates that for every $100,000 of a property's assessed valuation, passage of Question 1 would cost the property owner about $50 a year, and passage of Question 2 about $5 more a year.
The committee has been planning and fundraising for about two months and garnered about 50 volunteers, Hillman said. More people signed up and took yard signs home Tuesday night.
Some people also made pledges Tuesday to contribute to the committee fundraising effort. The committee has raised about $20,000 of the $30,000 to $40,000 the group estimates it will cost to print brochures, buy advertisements and other efforts, Matthews said.
They are seeking volunteers to head neighborhood committees.
"We hope to get everybody engaged," Matthews said. "Anybody who wants us to make a presentation to your group, please contact us."
More information can be found on the group's Web site, www.keepourschoolsstrong.com, or by calling 547-1016.