Laurens Co. residents rally against school tax increase

Laurens District 55 High School (WSPA).

LAURENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Dozens of people gathered in Laurens County Thursday evening to oppose a school tax increase for Laurens District 55.

The common Sense Coalition for Better Schools held the anti-tax rally at Piedmont Technical Center in Clinton.

“Let’s work on other solutions, but I feel like it’s important to vote that down and stop that,” said Dianne Belsom, who organized the rally.

Belsom organized the rally tonight to encourage people to oppose the $109 million bond referendum to build a new high school in Laurens County.

“It’s going to be about $600 a year in additional taxes for us,” Belsom said.

People who oppose the tax say they don’t want to pay more because they don’t see a return on their investment.

“I don’t think our graduation rate for seniors is very high,” Belsom said.  “I feel like our kids are coming out of the high school, and they still are in need of remedial help. Kids graduate high school, and they’re not qualified to actually do anything.

Organizers say it goes beyond voting. They want people to sign a petition and call their school board members.

The school district wants to open the new high school by 2020, although no location has been set.

Garrett McDaniel/Laurens County Councilman

“New learning facilities are going to be imperative to the future of Laurens County if we want to be able to keep up and to grow,” said Laurens County Councilman, Garrett McDaniel

However, people think more research needs to be done.

“District 55 School Board needs to take a little more time to get a solid plan together to present to the public,” McDaniel said.

The referendum has been delayed until September 5th.

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