Education

Fort Mill on its way to building new schools as voters pass $190M bond package

Fort Mill residents vote in school bond referendum

Residents in the Fort Mill school district went to the polls March 20, 2018, to decide a $190 million bond question. The district is asking residents to approve financing for three new schools and land for future schools to help keep up with rapid
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Residents in the Fort Mill school district went to the polls March 20, 2018, to decide a $190 million bond question. The district is asking residents to approve financing for three new schools and land for future schools to help keep up with rapid

York County voters appear Tuesday evening to have supported a $190 million bond package for three new schools, buses, building maintenance and technology in the Fort Mill School District.

Fort Mill school board Chair Kristy Spears said shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday that the bond package was on its way to passing with 70 percent in favor, according to results posted at polling sites.

The election results are unofficial until they are certified at 10 a.m. Friday at the elections office, 13 S. Congress St. in York.

“We would like to thank the Fort Mill School District community for again voicing their support for our schools and joining with the district in our mission of placing ‘Children First,’ ” reads a statement from the school district. “The growth our area is experiencing is significant and the community has once again shown their commitment to providing a quality education for all students. The district will continue our efforts to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars while maintaining the high level of educational opportunities we provided.”

The bond package would open two elementary schools in two years and a middle school a year later. The bonds also would pay for land to build future schools.

The school district estimates the additional cost from the bond package on a $250,000 home would be $140 for the first year, falling 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 package, 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 vote in 2015. More than 5,400 votes were cast in that $226 million decision.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082

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