Commentary on School Bond Issue

A group of citizens who are opposed to the $109,000,000 District 55 School Bond referendum held a gathering Thursday night at Grace Baptist Church on Metric Road. People in attendance included outspoken critic of the bond, Jayhue “Jay” Weisner, who wrote WLBG expressing his thoughts on the referendum. He also comments on School Board Member Robby Bell being present and participating in the meeting. Here are the comments of Jay Weiser:

 

Letter to WLBG

The meeting of the citizens opposing the $109,000,000 bond referendum meet 7/13/2017 and we were honored with   Mr. Bell’s attendance . He  shared with the group, the construction details of the new purposed High School. He did not share the location of this new facility, although he indicated it had been discussed in a closed meetings. He went on to great length  in discussing the closing of several middle schools, and  the construction of other building  , to accommodate  overcrowding . The cost of these plans are in addition to the $109,000,000 requested in the bond issue .  He discussed the servicing of the present debit,  which included the three bonds that are outstanding from the past 18 years (1999-2017). They are  $25,000,000 , $35,000,000 and the latest, $1,000,000 bond for the district office. (Palmetto Bank building) This totals $61,000,000 which has been spent in an effort to keep these  building in good  conditions and have pass OSHA inspections. The debit service of these bonds are 54 mills,which equate to $ 4,968,000 per year. ( 54 X $92,000)  The new bond service debit for the $109,000,000  ( 57mills X $92,000) $5,244,000 per year, would be added to this, bring the total yearly payment to $10,212,000.  I understood that Mr. Bell said the oldest bond  would be paid off in 2029,( $25,000,000)  the next bond( $35,000,000) in 2037 and the last($109,000,000) in 2047.

What the voter needs to understand is the total amount of dollars the school board expects you to approve for the next thirty years. The first 12 years total  debt service = $122.544 MILLION Dollars. The next 8 years it reduces to $73.5264 MILLION Dollars and the last 10 years debt service reduces to $52.445 MILLION Dollars. Total money borrowed and interest  from 1999- 2017 (provided the bond referendum passes  would be  $169,000,000  plus interest which  equals  $248,5254,000!

Mr. Bell went on to say he didn’t agree with 5 of  the 6 boards recommendations ,but votes yes to go along.. He also indicated we have him to thank for allowing the public to vote on this bond referendum. I assume other members of the board preferred to move forward without the voters approval.

Mr. Bell added the comment,” the School Board will not have a scheduled meeting in the month of July and the  August meeting would be the last opportunity to share with the public the plans that has never been published , before the referendum.

I appreciate   Mr. Bell attending the meeting and keeping our group appraised of the boards plans.

 

Jayhue Weisner, Past member of Laurens County council

 

This commentary represents the opinion of the writer. WLBG welcomes comments from persons with other viewpoints, as well. Address any comments to; efinley@wlbg.com