At the recent "Kick-off" event (held at The Ridge on Tuesday, August 1, 2017) there was no time for a question and answer session with the audience. We did, however, want to know about questions people may have. We asked those who were interested to fill out a 3 x 5 card with their question and assured them the questions would be answered on our website and in social media. We hope this information helps in making your decision to support a new high school and recognize that this effort is in the best interests of the future of Laurens County.
- Does better schools mean better pay for teachers?
- Teacher pay is a component of school operating expenses and is not related to the funds being requested in the bond referendum. Bond referendum funds can only be used for the design and construction of the new high school and other construction/renovation projects. In our conversations with Laurens County School District 55, they assure us that teacher and support staff pay is a priority in planning. The board of trustees approved a 2% pay increase for 2017-2018 and will continue to strive to make the district competitive in pay to its employees.
- Why was Sept. 5th picked for the day of the vote?
- The original date for the referendum was to have been May 9th. Because of the information gathered in the four forums last February, the district felt like the public needed more time to evaluate the proposal and the district needed to provide more detailed information. The September 5th date is the traditional first Tuesday of the month when elections are held. It gave the district enough time to provide as much detail as possible and the public enough time to analyze the proposal without an extensive delay in the start of the project. Anyone who may not be able to vote on September 5th can submit an absentee ballot beginning August 22, 2017.
- Your explanation of cost is $2.24 per $1,000 of which value -- assessed or appraised value?
The estimated property tax, based on the fair market value (FMV) of a home (determined by the Laurens County Tax Assessor), will be $2.24 per $1,000 of FMV (not its real estate market or assessed value).
Why are there so few classrooms? It looks like less than the current high school.
The design drawings revealed at the kick-off event are preliminary drawings used to illustrate the general concept. The actual number and size of classrooms will be determined through an extensive analytical process undertaken by the architectural firm in concert with Laurens County School District 55 personnel (including teachers and support staff) when the referendum passes.
I would like a more clear map of the intentions for the other schools.
First, we must convey that any plans for the use of existing district campuses are dependent on the passage of the referendum. When the referendum passes, the district will have at least two years to develop plans for the use of existing facilities in some new and purposeful way. Those plans will be developed in concert with the communities the district serves. What can be said now is that the current high school campus will house multiple middle school campuses, each with their own focus area and administrative team. This would maintain a small school environment while streamlining resources for more efficient use. Other proposals include using Laurens Middle School as an additional elementary school campus to alleviate overcrowding on other elementary campuses. Contrary to some reports - the district has no plans for closing any school campuses.
One opposition sign says "4 schools will close." Is this correct? If so, which ones?
Contrary to those reports - the district has no plans for closing any school campuses. Some campuses may be repurposed (e.g., Laurens Middle School); but, the district will continue to operate a minimum of nine administrative campuses.
If Laurens Middle School becomes an elementary school campus to help with overcrowding at K - 5 schools, what do we do with those 6 - 8 students?
It is anticipated that all Laurens Middle School students would transfer to one of the campuses which will be housed on the current high school campus. If you have suggestions as to how this might be handled most effectively, we would invite you to participate in specific planning sessions that would take place after passage of the referendum.
There was a question asked at the "Kick-off" Event about the location of the proposed new high school.
We wish we could answer that question specifically and we hope to be able to do so before September 5th. Because the land has not yet been secured, the specific identification of parcels that might best suit the interests of the district could artificially inflate the price for such parcels. While the district indicates that it intends to pay Fair Market Value for such property, until negotiations are complete, it would be fiscally irresponsible to reveal a location. The intention is to locate the new campus within a 3 mile radius of the geographic center of the district. Those of you who may feel that you cannot vote "Yes" without knowing the specific location, we assure you that the district is acting with due diligence to provide the best possible location for the new school campus.
If you have any additional questions, you are free to send them to us at email@example.com or you can go to the district website at http://www.laurens55.org/bond-referendum-2f17301. You will find many of your potential questions have already been answered on their FAQ page.