Voters in the Fort Mill School district to decide fate of proposed school bond

Fort Mill voters will decide March 20 the fate of a proposed $190 million bond proposal.
Fort Mill voters will decide March 20 the fate of a proposed $190 million bond proposal.

Voters will decide Tuesday whether to approve a $190 million bond package for three new schools, buses, building maintenance and technology in the Fort Mill School District.

Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. March 20 at 23 locations in Fort Mill and Tega Cay.

“Everything will be operating the same as other elections,” said Wanda Hemphill, county voter and registration office director. “We will be using the same locations as usual.”

Voters can check their precinct and other information at scvotes.org.

If approved, two elementary schools would open in two years. A middle school would open a year later. The bond also would pay for land to build future schools.

The school district estimates the additional cost from the bond on a $250,000 home would be $140 for the first year, lessening to $100 per year afterward. The payments could last up to 20 years.

When the district announced the bond plan in January, it had $473.5 million from past bonds approved by voters. At the start of this school year, the district had almost 15,000 students, making it second only to the Rock Hill district in the York-Lancaster-Chester region.

An online survey earlier this month found residents split on the bond, with some saying it’s needed to maintain high standards for schools throughout the district and others arguing it could encourage more of the rapid growth in the Fort Mill and Tega Cay areas that makes school bonds necessary.

The Fort Mill district last held a bond in 2015. More than 5,400 votes were cast in that $226 million decision.

Since 1992 voters in the district approved seven school bond packages, voted down another and had one approved on an installment purchase plan that didn’t require a public vote.