Less Than One Month From Chester Co. School Bond Referendum Vote

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – In less than a month, voters will head to the polls in Chester County to vote on a $263 million dollar school bond referendum.

This is the district’s third attempt for a bond. One failed in 2020 and another in 2018.

Projects included in the proposed bond are a new Chester and Lewisville High School, upgrades to schools in Great Falls, athletics upgrades and more.

There will be a tax increase if the bond passes.

Dr. Antwon Sutton, Superintendent for the Chester County School District let CN2 Cameras tour Lewisville High School. One of the main concerns of the 1972 building he says is safety.

“When you enter the main office here, like at Chester High School and Great Falls, once you’re buzzed in, visitors have full access to students. They can walk straight up the hall and bypass the main office”, says Sutton.

Safety is just one of the issues Dr. Sutton and his staff have about the school. There are outdated locker rooms, an outgrown cafeteria, outdated classroom, leaks, plumbing issues and more.

“If you walk in here on any given day you will see students in the hallways trying to work together in the hallway on the floor. In the new building you will have common spaces like in a mall setting where there are places designed for student collaboration so students can work together” says Sutton.

If the district’s $263 million dollar bond referendum were to pass, Lewisville High School would be replaced with a new school as well as Chester High School, which Sutton says is experiencing similar issues.  There would also be additions to Lewisville Elementary School so 5th grade students could relocate to the campus. As well as many upgrades in the Great Falls community, a new Chester County Career Center, and athletic upgrades.

Pastor Kevin Taylor is a resident in Chester County and has a son who just graduated from Chester High School. He’s on the “vote yes” committee, saying although there would be a tax increase, he wants voters to keep the children in this county in mind.

“We can find ways to pay for just about anything if we value it enough, in our personal lives we do it all the time. When I look at this and the future of Chester, I don’t know if you can have a thriving community unless you’re willing to invest in our children. For me it just makes sense to do it now. And I know we are talking about inflation times, and I agree that is true. I’m no economist, but I don’t know if you get a better time to do this. If we wait and kick this can down the road, and say we will pick it up in a few years, as far as I know everything in my life has gotten more expensive”, says Taylor.

According to the district, the potential tax impact on a home valued at $100,000 dollars would be estimated about $406.00 dollars a year, keeping in mind, district leaders say this would be a gradual increase over the course of the construction timeframe as more funds are borrowed to pay for the construction.

Chester County councilman, Pete Wilson is also a father and has major concerns about the proposed bond.

“The proposed referendum, I think it would have a big impact on the small businesses. So it will not just effect the folks on their individual tax bills, but small businesses throughout the county. Chester County is in a great place right now, I don’t want to see us set it back. If this does not pass, I hope the school board and leadership can come back to something that is actually responsible and something the citizens can get behind and support’, says Wilson.

The vote is set for May 14th, 2022.

There will be two questions on the bond referendum ballot.

The first question includes all of the facilities construction.

The second question will include athletic upgrades and improvements which include regulation size tracks and more.

Question 2 cannot pass without question 1 passing but question 1 can pass on its own.

There will be a town hall meeting this Thursday, April 28th at 6 PM at the Gateway Conference Center in Richburg for those interested in learning more or if you have questions.

A full breakdown of the Bond referendum is on the district’s website.


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