Interim Superintendent recommends a new attempt at school bond vote

In November 2018, voters in Lexington Three rejected a $90 million school bond referendum that would have included a new state-of-the-art high school to replace the aging school on Summerland Avenue.


Lexington School District Three’s Interim Superintendent has unambiguously called on the local School Board to begin work on a new bond referendum, asking voters to borrow enough money to revitalize the district’s aging schools.

Speaking at Tuesday’s regular monthly School Board meeting, Dr. Stephen Hefner outlined the case for putting another facilities referendum on the November 2020 ballot. The new vote would occur just two years after 61 percent of Lexington Three voters rejected a $90 million plan in November 2018 that would have built a new Batesburg-Leesville High School and renovated and expanded the Primary School where Tuesday night’s meeting was held.

“We know that some needs have been addressed. We know that many needs remain,” Dr. Hefner told the School Board and others sitting in the gallery on tiny primary-age chairs. “The longer any need goes unmet, the more pressing and more costly it becomes.”

The earliest a new school bond referendum could appear on the ballot is November 2020; the final wording of the bond question would need to be approved and submitted to the South Carolina Election Commission by next August, Dr. Hefner said.

With the age and condition of Batesburg-Leesville’s current schools, “the greatest risk is doing nothing,” he said.

The Interim Superintendent’s recommendation to the Board came on the heels of a presentation Tuesday night by Ginny Kirk of Thompson Turner Construction, updating the School Board on progress made so far on various facilities improvements recommended in the 2016 Comprehensive Facilities Study.

Piecemeal renovation projects are ongoing at the primary school, where construction is soon to begin on a new bus loop to better handle traffic, and at the high school, where new science labs were just completed and work continues on lighting at the athletic fields. Other renovations have been completed at the middle and elementary schools.

Pick up the September 19 edition of The Twin-City News for more details on this week’s School Board meeting, more on the interim Superintendent’s recommendation for a new referendum, and a closer examination of Lexington Three’s ongoing facilities challenges.

Story by Tony Baughman / Posted September 10, 2019