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Building Program Q & A

ASD

Anderson 1 Building Program Q & A

 

  1. What projects are included in the Anderson 1 Building Program?

The following projects are included:

  1. Improve safety and security at all schools – Update or replace video cameras, access control doors, security software, create secure vestibules (Hunt Meadows Elementary, Powdersville Elementary, Spearman Elementary, West Pelzer Elementary, Powdersville Middle, Palmetto High School, Wren High School) eliminate separate buildings that require students to leave the main building by connecting separate buildings to the main building (Palmetto High, Wren High, Palmetto Middle, and Wren Middle).
  2. Build a new Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle School on the same properties while keeping the newest wings and incorporating them into the new building.
  3. Add additional classrooms onto schools that are at or over student capacity:
  4. Cedar Gove Elementary (8 room addition)
  5. Powdersville Elementary (8 room addition)
  6. Spearman Elementary (8 room addition)
  7. Powdersville Middle (10 room addition)
  8. Powdersville High (10 room addition + multipurpose building)
  9. Critical Renovations at Palmetto High and Wren High to include ADA compliance renovations, upgraded restrooms, tile, paint, etc.
  10. Renovations to Adult Education to include repair to windows, doors, floors, and auditorium HVAC.
  11. Repair/replace roof and HVAC where necessary :
    1. Roof: Concrete, Palmetto Elementary, Powdersville Elementary, West Pelzer, Wren Elementary, Powdersville MS, Palmetto High School, Wren High School
    2. HVAC: Cedar Grove, Palmetto Elementary, West Pelzer, Wren Elementary, Wren High School, Palmetto High School
  1. How were the projects in the Facility Program chosen?

The district began its facility study 18 months ago.  A construction management firm along with district and building administration and district and building maintenance staff evaluated each building in the district and considered age of the building, and the function of mechanical, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, roof and other systems.  The district also evaluated current enrollment and attendance trends compared to building capacities.  The district held stakeholder meetings in the Palmetto, Powdersville and Wren areas to solicit feedback and recommendations.  The district continues to seek input from the Anderson One community.  Ultimately, the School Board will determine the scope of the building program.

  1. Why is the district replacing Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle?

Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle were built in 1952 and 1956 respectively, making them 67 and 63 years old.  These buildings have surpassed their life expectancy and will require major improvements to electrical, mechanical/HVAC, plumbing, sewer, roofing and other infrastructure.  To make these types of major investments on buildings that are 67 and 63 years old does is not a good economic decision. The cost to completely renovate buildings this old equals and in some cases surpasses the cost of building a new building.   The district plans to replace both Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle utilizing the current sites to save money by not having to purchase new land.  Each school has a wing that was built approximately 10 years ago.  The district plans to keep the newly constructed wings and incorporate them into the new buildings, saving approximately $5.5 Million on construction costs. 

  1. What is meant by creating secure vestibules at all schools?

Currently, all schools have control access doors on the front of the building. Visitors must “buzz in” before being admitted.  A secure vestibule forces visitors into the front office and prevents them from accessing any other area of the school.  Some schools in Anderson One have secure vestibules but nine schools do not.  In these schools, once a visitor is “buzzed in”, they are not forced into the office area but have access to halls or corridors where student classes are held.  This building program eliminates this problem by insuring all schools have secured vestibules.

  1. What is the cost of the building program projects?

Initial estimated costs include construction, fees, furniture, and equipment:

5.7 Million       - Safety and Security– All schools will receive security upgrades which include some or all of the following: vestibules, updated or replaced cameras and access doors

89 Million        - Replace Palmetto Middle School and Wren Middle School

21.3 Million     - Additions to Cedar Grove Elem, Powdersville Elem, Spearman Elem, Powdersville Middle, Powdersville High (and multipurpose building)

5 Million          - Renovations to Palmetto High School, Wren High School, Adult Education

11 Million – Repair or Replace aging HVAC and Roofs at the most critical locations.

132 Million     - TOTAL

  1. How will the district pay for the building program?

The district plans to use 20 million dollars over the next 5 years from Local Option Sales Tax, 3 million dollars set aside from the district general fund at the conclusion of the 2017-18 school year for capital improvements, and 109 million dollars from a bond referendum.

  1. What is a Bond Referendum?

A bond referendum is a process by which the district sells bonds and uses the proceeds to fund building program needs.  The taxpayers repay the bond debt through annual property taxes.  The district’s registered voters decide to approve or not approve the sale of bonds through a bond referendum which will be held on April 30, 2019, at regular polling places throughout the district.

  1. How can bond money be used?

Proceeds from a bond issue can be used for the construction and renovation of facilities, the acquisition of land, and the purchase of capital items such as equipment and technology.  Bond proceeds cannot be used for personnel, salaries, or fringe benefits.

  1. How much will the sale of the bonds cost a typical resident?

It is worth noting that since the passage of ACT 388 in 2008, homeowners do not pay any school property taxes for school operations on owner occupied homes.  Homeowners and businesses do pay property taxes on school district debt service which pays for capital projects.  The sale of 109 million dollars in bonds would have the following impact:

  • For a $100,000 homeowner = $64/year  or  $5.33/month
  • For a $10,000 Vehicle = $9.6/year  or  $.80/month
  • For a $100,000 Business = $96/year  or $8/month
  1. How many years will it take to pay off the bonds?

The district anticipates the sale of 25 year bonds.  The bonds will be issued over the next four years as needed to pay for the projects.  The district will not issue all of the bonds at one time. 

  1. Will the bond debt get smaller over time?

Yes, 20% of the Local Option Sales Tax funds are used to reduce school district debt service.  So each year, the district’s debt is reduced. 

  1. What if the bond referendum does not pass?

The district will be forced to put portables at schools where enrollment has reached capacity since not all the building additions could be funded.  The district will not be able to build a new Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle.  Limited repairs and upgrades will need be made to these two buildings based on available funds.   Most critical safety enhancements will need to be made with our limited Local Option Sales Tax funds.

  1. What are the enrollment trends in the district?

Anderson 1 is a very fast growing district.  From 2003 to today, the district has grown from 7676 to 10,254 – a 33% increase!  At this rate, the district will add another 3,000 students in the next 15 years.  The district must use the building program to keep up with this growth by adding additions and building schools.

  1. What schools are nearing or over capacity and how many rooms will the district build at each school?

See chart below:

 

# Students Current

Building Capacity

Portables

Additional Rooms Needed

Capacity after Building Program

# Years Projected to Reach Capacity

Cedar Grove

661

675

1

8

875

10+

Spearman

660

650

1

8

850

10+

Powd Elem

648

675

0

8

875

10+

Powd Middle

728

700

1

10

950

10+

Powd High

919

975

0

10

1150+

8-10

 

  1. Why not use the Local Option Sales Tax (the penny) to pay for building needs?

20 million dollars of Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds have been committed to the building program.  This represents a significant portion of the proceeds over the next five years.  Previously, the LOST funds have been used for the following:

  • Safety and Security upgrades – added cameras and access doors
  • Technology Hardware and Instructional Software
  • Renovated some Science/STEM labs in all schools
  • Updated Digital and Print Media in all school libraries
  • New Band, Fine Arts and Physical Education Equipment
  • Production Technology Equipment
  • Updated Palmetto High and Wren High Auditoriums
  • Programmatic Improvements at Career Center – welding
  • Building and Technology Improvements at Alternative School
  • Concrete Primary eight room classroom addition
  • Wren High School Stadium Improvements
  • Powdersville High and Wren High tennis courts
  • Palmetto High Multipurpose Facility
  • New activity bus purchase for extracurricular events
  • Some Roof and HVAC Improvements/Repairs
  • Powdersville area access road to help alleviate traffic congestion
  • Instructional Equipment in all Schools – Smart/Mimeo Board
  • Ipads Grades 3-8, Chromebooks Grades 9-12
  1. Why does Anderson One receive so much less funding than most other districts in local, state, and federal funds?

ASD1 receives less local, state, and federal funding than almost every other school district in the state.  In fact, year after year, Anderson One ranks as low as 6th from the bottom to the very bottom out of 81 districts.  Last year the district received $10,761 per student compared to the SC average of $13,214.  ASD1 receives 25 million less per year than a similar size district funded at the state average.  The funding formulas in SC are very complex.  Prior to 2006, ASD1 received local funds from property taxes for school operations.  The millage was able to be kept low because the district was growing.  As new houses were built or as property values increased, the district received more funds for school operations.  In 2006, the State Legislature passed ACT 388, which eliminated all property tax on owner occupied homes for school operations and replaced it with a penny sales tax.  The penny was supposed to be an even swap with the property taxes.  Unfortunately, the penny tax has not been able to keep up, especially in growing districts like ASD1.  When a family builds a house in ASD1, the district receives no property tax for school operations on that owner occupied home yet must educate all the students that live in that home.

  1. Did the district consider building two new high school and have the middle schools move into the old High School?

Yes, the district studied this option but ultimately it was too expensive.  The current cost to build one high school in today’s market is estimated at a minimum of 75 million.

  1. This building program will take us 10 years down the road. What is next?

The proposed building program is a comprehensive 10-year plan.  If the funding for the building program is approved, many anticipated issues should be addressed for the next 10 years.  If growth continues as expected, in 2030 the district would need to consider adding an elementary school in the Powdersville area

     19.  What is the ballot question?

 

OFFICIAL BALLOT, REFERENDUM
$109,000,000 GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 OF ANDERSON COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
April 30, 2019
*********

Shall the Board of Trustees of School District No. 1 of Anderson 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 $109,000,000, the proceeds of which shall be used to finance all necessary
costs of acquiring, constructing, improving, equipping, expanding, renovating,
demolishing and repairing school facilities including land acquisition, if necessary,
within the School District including:

• Safety and security improvements for all schools including vestibule improvements
where needed

• Constructing and equipping new facilities, including Palmetto Middle School, Wren Middle School and a Multi-purpose Building at Powdersville High School

• Additions to existing overcrowded facilities including certain elementary schools, Powdersville Middle School and Powdersville High School

• Improvements and upgrades to existing facilities including the Adult Education
Building, Palmetto High School and Wren High School - and

• Replacing and improving roofs and HVAC systems where needed

If the voter wishes to vote in favor of the question, fill in the oval next to “In favor of
the question/yes”

If the voter wishes to vote against the question, fill in the oval next to
the words, “Opposed to the question/no”
 
 
The last day persons may register to be eligible to vote in the Referendum will be March 31, 2019. Applications for registration to vote sent by mail must be postmarked no later than April 1, 2019 to the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Anderson County at 301 N. Main Street, Anderson, or delivered to the office of the same, on or before April 1, 2019.

How to register to vote:

Register Online:

Click here for online voter registration: http://info.scvotes.sc.gov/eng/ovr/start.aspx

Register by mail, email, fax:

Download voter registration form: https://www.scvotes.org/files/VR_Blank_Form.pdf
Fax – 864-260-4203
Mail – 301 N. Main St.; Anderson, SC 29621
Email – acvote@andersoncountysc.org

Register in person:

Anderson County Board of Voter Registration & Elections - 301 N. Main Street; Anderson, SC 29621

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