A Citizen Speaks Out

We have all been seeing signs around the neighborhood and County asking us to vote NO on September 5th for the $109 million tax bond referendum to build a new high school. I've started to see a few vote YES signs.

We moved to Gray Court, because we knew the taxes were less than in Greenville County. We don't have kids, so in that respect, we don't care about education. But as a retired teacher, I do care about the education of children.

But now as a real estate appraiser, I am finding out WHY houses (and taxes) are cheaper in Laurens County. Of the 10 counties in the upstate, Laurens County High Schools have the LOWEST SAT scores. I talk to real estate people all the time, and they almost all agree that since the education is so bad here, and people KNOW it's bad, people are less likely to buy homes here, especially if they have kids. Perhaps that's why so many are home educated. 

Because there is less demand for homes in Laurens County, and based on its current lower than standard educational system, our home prices are not increasing at the same speed as surrounding Greenville, Spartanburg or Anderson Counties. 

Dianne Belsom is an organizer who is in favor of voting NO on September 5th. She states "I don't think our graduation rate for seniors is very high. I feel like our kids are coming out of high school, and they still are in need of remedial help. Kids graduate high school, and they're not qualified to actually do anything". Yet she STILL wants us to vote NO. 

I see signs regarding the September 5th vote stating that the $109 million bond will leave our kids with a greater debt. But if the kids here get a better education, their SAT scores will go up. If the SAT scores go up, and they leave high school with a better education, they are more likely to go to college, earn more money, and end up with LESS debt. With a better education, maybe a 2-year technical college will be more desirable. And with a 2-year degree, they will make more money, and the debt will be LESS.

But even if they don't choose further education, they will be better educated, and make more money. More money means less debt. 

If the education system here in the County gets better, people will more likely want to move here. More potential residents means a bigger demand for homes. Bigger demand means that home prices will go up. If you sell your home for more money, you will end up with LESS debt. 

So I urge everyone to vote YES. Not only will that put more money into the kids pockets, it will put more money into our pockets when we sell our homes.

Mr. Richard Marshall