LEX3 Bond Referendum

Mission

My name is Tripp Williamson, I am a product, former employee, husband of an educator and taxpayer in Lexington School District Three. The purpose of this site is to document my research and exhibit a neutral position on the proposed $90,000,000 bond referendum. This site will be constantly updating over the next weeks as my research takes me deeper into just what it is we “the tax payers” are being asked to fund. Please feel free to contact me with any information you want to share, or correct anything that is being misrepresented. This effort is completely one of my own and is not connected, or endorsed by Lexington School District Three. Lex3Bond.com is for entertainment purposes only!

Project Details

Images via lex3.org website

BLPS Conceptual Design

Please note conceptual plans are subject to change as designs are finalized.

BLPS


BLHS Conceptual Design

Please note conceptual plans are subject to change as designs are finalized.

BLHS

Public Forums

Batesburg - Leesville High School

September 10,2018

Attended by approximatly 30 people, including current and previous school board members.

Batesburg - Leesville Primary School

September 17,2018

Attended by 22 people, including current school board members faculty and staff.

Resources

Lexington 3 - FAQ


PDF document Document did not contain any Revision or Date control, retrieved 9.15.2018

Lexington School District Three Bond Referendum Frequently Asked Questions

1.  When is the date of the bond referendum?

The referendum will be held on November 6, 2018, which is the same day as the general election.

2.  What are the proposed improvements at B-L Primary and B-L High Schools?

B-L Primary School

The proposed plans presented at the Lexington Three Board of Trustees meeting on June 12, 2018 included the following renovations/additions to the existing B-L Primary School facility. Please note these conceptual plans are subject to change as designs are finalized.

  • New, larger media center
  • New, larger cafeteria
  • New administration area at the front of the school (with a designated space for the school nurse)
  • New, larger PE area
  • Additional classrooms
  • Additional bathrooms
  • Additional office space
  • A new playground area
  • A redesigned drop-off loop for parents at the front of the school to aid in traffic flow off of Summerland Avenue (this includes additional paved parking)
  • A new, separate bus drop-off area behind the school to increase safety and efficiency

According to Joel Carter, who presented the plans in June of 2018 on behalf of Jumper Carter Sease Architects alongside Lauren Fabin, the proposed renovations for B-L Primary School would allow for the continued use of the new security entrance that was added by the district during the summer of 2017. In addition, the conceptual design also removes the long, covered breezeway that extends from the front of the school. In its place would be a covered walk area that would connect and run parallel to the front of the facility.

B-L High School

The conceptual drawings that have been presented for a brand new B-L High School allow for the proposed facility to be built facing Summerland Avenue in front of the existing B-L High School campus. The prospective design of the new school would allow for growth up to 800 students. Highlights of the presented plan include:

  • An Innovation Studio (This would serve as the school’s media center and a place for student innovation and )
  • A gymnasium that would allow patrons to enter at the top of the bleachers and funnel down to the court level
  • A Hall of Fame lobby outside of the gymnasium
  • An auxiliary gymnasium
  • A lecture hall
  • A semi-enclosed courtyard area for outdoor dining
  • Upgrades to athletic facilities including, but not limited to, the softball area, the Panther football stadium, and the baseball complex
  • New practice fields
  • New student parking lot
  • New bus drop-off area
  • New parent drop-off area
  • New staff/visitor parking

Please note these conceptual plans are subject to change as designs are finalized.

As part of the conceptual plans, the existing Fine Arts Center would likely be renovated on the exterior to match the new B-L High School campus and would be updated on the inside with additional dressing rooms and bathrooms. A covered walk area would connect the Fine Arts Center to the main B-L High School building.

3.  What will be the overall effect of making these improvements?

Lexington County School District Three strives to provide students with a 21st century learning environment. The improvements outlined for B-L Primary School, along with the construction of a brand new B-L High School, will allow us to provide flexible, collaborative learning spaces that mirror the workplace. As a 1:1 technology district (meaning every student in grades 2 through 12 is equipped with a Chromebook), the improvements will also enable us to continue to use updated technology with improved infrastructure in our classrooms and buildings. Additionally, the improvements at B-L Primary School and the newly-constructed B-L High School will provide enhanced safety for students and staff. The proposed building plans will offer inviting, student-centered media centers, cafeterias, classrooms and physical education/athletic areas that will serve as secure and innovative spaces to support our overall education program.

4.  Will the construction process provide business opportunities for local residents?

The Construction Management at Risk delivery system will seek out and provide opportunities for local contractors and vendors. Typically, notices are sent out to the community and meetings are scheduled wherein local participants can meet with the

Construction Management personnel. Once identified, they will be given opportunities to become involved with the project as a subcontractor through the bidding process.

5.  What process was used to determine what schools would be improved and the type of improvements each would get?

In the Fall of 2016, the Board of Trustees commissioned a facility study to determine the short- and long-term needs of all of the district’s facilities. This facility study was shared at the Board meeting held on November 15, 2016 at B-L Middle School.

According to our facility study, updates and upgrades were needed at each of the district’s four schools. However, the District was tasked with prioritizing the identified improvements based on need and availability of funding.

As a result, work has already been done at several of the sites to improve safety and address HVAC and roofing concerns. However, the costs associated with the work to be done at B-L Primary School and B-L High School are more than Lexington School District Three can fund through its 8% borrowing capacity.

6.   What is meant by 8% “borrowing capacity?”

The Board of Trustees has the authority to pursue bonds in an amount of up to 8% of the assessed value of all taxable property in the school district. The assessed property value in Lexington School District Three, as of June 30, 2016, was $45,528,290. Eight percent of this sum is $3,642,263. The district has used 8% money to begin addressing several of the needs identified in the study that was conducted in the Fall of 2016.

7.  Is there any other way to raise the money to pay for school improvements?

Under South Carolina law, Lexington County School District Three cannot borrow enough money to fund the construction and upgrades needed without the approval of the voters in our district. There are no other federal, state or local funds available to pay for these projects.

9.  How much is the bond issue?

The bond issue will allow Lexington County School District Three to borrow up to $90 million, the proceeds of which shall be used to finance the costs (including architectural, engineering, legal and related fees) of constructing and equipping a brand new B-L High School (including athletic facility upgrades) on the existing high school property. In addition, the bond issue will allow Lexington Three to fund upgrades, additions and renovations to the existing B-L Primary School facility.

10.  How was the amount of the bond issue determined?

Cost projections were based on size (square footage) of the new B-L High School and upgraded athletic fields, along with the scope of the renovations and additions to the current B-L Primary School facility.

11.  How long will it take to pay off the bonds and what will the total cost be, including interest?

It will take 25 years to pay off the bonds. The actual cost to pay off the bonds will not be known until the bonds are sold and details, such as the interest rate, are determined.

12.  How much will property taxes increase on my home?

The proposed improvements will affect the portion of property taxes homeowners pay called Debt Service, which goes toward repaying money borrowed for such things as school construction and capital projects. The current millage levy dedicated to Debt Service is 70.8 mills. Each Debt Service mill is $1 per mill on a $25,000 home. For example, taxes on a home with an assessed value of $75,000 would equate to $212.40 a year. In 2004, Lexington County taxpayers voted to assess a one cent sales tax to offset Debt Service millage. As a result, a credit is applied to all classes of property. For tax year 2017, this credit equated to approximately $195 on a $75,000 property. Based upon this, the $212.40 in taxes that would have been owed on the $75,000 home in the above example would be reduced to a net tax of $17.40. The projected increase in millage for school improvements as a result of the proposed referendum is 71.20 mills, which represents a $213.60 increase to the homeowner, meaning the total bill would be $231. The table below provides additional examples.

Debt Service

Current Millage

**Lexington County

Additional Mills

Owner Occupied

70.8

Taxpayers

Net paid by

71.20

Total

Assessment

0.04

Sales Tax Credit

Owner Occupied

Additional Due

Taxes Due

$ 25,000.00

$ 70.80

$ 65.00

$ 5.80

$ 71.20

$ 77.00

$ 50,000.00

$ 141.60

$ 130.00

$ 11.60

$ 142.40

$ 154.00

$ 75,000.00

$ 212.40

$ 195.00

$ 17.40

$ 213.60

$ 231.00

$ 100,000.00

$ 283.20

$ 260.00

$ 23.20

$ 284.80

$ 308.00

$ 150,000.00

$ 424.80

$ 390.00

$ 34.80

$ 427.20

$ 462.00

$ 200,000.00

$ 566.40

$ 520.00

$ 46.40

$ 569.60

$ 616.00

 

** Saluda Taxpayers not eligible for

Sales Tax Credit


13.   If the bond issue is approved, when will I see an increase in my tax bill?

Millage will increase in 2019 as the capital projects are in progress, with the full impact of the Debt Service millage to be on the 2020 tax bills.

14.   Who will be responsible for managing/providing oversight of construction?

In addition to the traditional responsibilities of the Architect/Engineer for construction contract administration, the School District will employ a Construction Management firm to oversee the projects at B-L Primary and B-L High schools from start to finish. The Building Code also requires testing and compliance of all major building systems by an independent agency contracted directly by the owner.

15.   Will appropriate auditing of the building program be established?

Under the Construction Management at Risk delivery method, the cost for the project is guaranteed prior to the beginning of construction. Only changes in the scope after the Guaranteed Maximum Price is agreed upon can alter the contract amount of the project. Monthly payment applications submitted by the Construction Management at Risk Firm are audited for compliance by the Architect/Engineer prior to payment by the School District.

16.   How long will it take for improvements to begin if the bond issue is approved?

The first phases of construction should begin at each school during the summer of 2019.

17.   When is the last time the district sought a bond referendum?

The last time Lexington County School District Three sought a bond referendum was in 1997 for the construction of the current B-L Middle School and the Fine Arts Center that is located on the current B-L High School campus.

18.   What will happen if the bond referendum does not pass?

If the bond referendum does not pass, the district will be in a difficult position. The extensive updates and improvements proposed for the outdated facilities that currently serve students of B-L Primary School and B-L High School are badly needed.

With the growth at B-L Primary School, where our youngest students come to learn, we will be forced to continue to offer classes in unconventional locations, such as small offices and the cafeteria stage, which were not designed for teaching. Teachers will also have to continue sharing classroom spaces. In addition, traffic congestion and parking issues at


the front of the school and on Summerland Avenue will remain — and likely increase — as the student population rises.

B-L High School will require major renovations as updates, repairs or replacements need to be made to the heating and air conditioning units, roof, plumbing, and technology infrastructure. Student and staff safety will remain a top concern as the district will struggle to find ways to secure the campus comprised of several separate buildings, multiple entrances and open-air breezeways. Since these costs will exceed the district’s 8% borrowing capacity, the upgrades will have to happen over the course of several years. Ultimately, the needed improvements will have to be prioritized over an unknown period of time, which means they are likely to cost more. In the meantime, the district would have to find creative ways to provide students with a 21st century education in a 1970s-constructed building.

19.  What’s the question on the ballot?

“Shall the Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 of Lexington County, South Carolina (the “School District”) be empowered to issue, at one time or from time to time, general obligation bonds of the School District, in a principal amount of not exceeding

$90,000,000, the proceeds of which shall be used to finance the costs (including architectural, engineering, legal and related fees) of constructing and equipping on the existing high school property a new high school including athletic facility upgrades, additions and renovations and funding renovations, upgrades, additions to and equipment for the Batesburg-Leesville Primary School?”

Lexington 3 - Information and Designs


260-994-3108

Lexington 3 - Public Meeting Dates


  • Monday, September 10th at 7 pm in the B-L High School cafeteria (600 Summerland Avenue B-L, SC 29006)
  • Monday, September 17th at 7 pm in the B-L Primary School cafeteria (800 Summerland Avenue B-L, SC 29006)
  • Tuesday, September 18th at 7 pm at the Ridge Road Community Center (1257 Ridge Road B-L, SC 29070)
  • Tuesday, September 25th at 7 pm at Faith Lutheran Church (113 North Oak Street B-L, SC 29006)
  • Monday, October 1st at 7 pm at Steadman Baptist Church (1011 North Edisto Road B-L, SC 29070)
  • Monday, October 8th at 7 pm at Olive Branch Baptist Church (122 South Oak Street B-L, SC 29006)
  • Monday, October 15th at 6:30 pm at Friendship Baptist Church (302 Brodie Road B-L, SC 29070)

Lexington Tax Estimator

Disclaimer

All Formulas used in these calculations have been validated against a 2018 Lexington County Tax Notice. The tax district used was District 3 Town of B&L, this would mean someone without any homestead or other exemptions living in town limits and Lexington County. I recommend you use the Lexington County Property Tax Data Search to retrieve the Fair Market value of your vehicle or Taxable value of your real estate.

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Tax Rate

Saluda County Tax Estimator

Disclaimer

Saluda County does not provide fair market values on their tax bills, you can find your latest valuation at Saluda County Property Tax Data Search Use this site to retrieve the property valuation of your vehicle.

The Real Estate estimator is coming soon.

**Important Note: Saluda County Residents do not recieve any discounts or tax credits from the penny sales tax.**

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