Laurens Co. residents vote against $109M bond referendum

File: Associated Press

LAURENS CO., SC (WSPA) – Voters in Laurens County School District 55 voted overwhelmingly against a $109 million bond referendum.

The bond would have been used to build a new high school and make improvements to other schools in the district.

Officials have said the tax increase would have been around $20 per month for the average family.

6,559 people voted against the referendum while 1,961 voted in favor.

Laurens County School District 55 Superintendent Dr. Stephen G. Peters released a statement on the failed referendum:

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen:

Several months ago, we embarked on a journey to bring a brighter future to the children of Laurens County School District 55. We never imagined it would be as divisive an issue as it became. While we are very disappointed with the outcome of today’s referendum, there is a greater concern. We feel compelled to call on all the leaders of our communities to come together to find ways to heal the wounds of division that have become so evident.

Black, white, Hispanic, or other; Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, or Independent; we all have a civic duty that has been ignored for too long. Too many stand rigid in their idealism and reluctant to compromise in fear of losing their own relevance. Our founding fathers created this nation through civil discourse and a desire to find common ground for the greater good. A pattern that, until recent decades, has held our nation in good stead and helped build opportunity for the people this nation served.

Now, it is imperative that we, once again, find that common ground and build a brighter bridge to the future. In the weeks ahead, we will be calling on our communities to become true partners in the future of LCSD 55. It is a future that must include greater support, greater access, and greater opportunities for all the children we serve. It is a future that cannot be created in isolation. We must seek to join the greater world around us, to advance our communities into the heart of the 21st century, and to make Laurens County a place we can all be proud to call home. Our public education system is about much more than personal achievement; it is about preparing people to work together to advance, not just themselves but society, as a whole.

As we move forward, we are committed to full community inclusion in our efforts. But, that inclusion requires civility, constructive dialogue, and a common belief in our ability to find righteous compromise as a product of our work. We can be better; we must be better.

Finally, we want to thank the many people who provided both direct and indirect support throughout this experience. The names are too many to mention and their contributions too lengthy to list. We say to each of you collectively, God bless you and may God bless Laurens County School District 55 and all the communities we serve.

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LAURENS CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Laurens County residents will vote on a tax increase to build a new school and make improvements at other schools.

The referendum will be put to the vote on Tuesday.

If passed, the $109 million bond referendum would be used to build a new high school in Laurens District 55. District officials hope to have the school complete for the class of 2020. Funds would also be used to renovate other schools that officials say are outdated.

Officials have said the tax increase would be about $20 per month for the average family, but those opposed to the referendum question the numbers and if the referendum is worth the cost.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5.