Proposed recommendation in support of Referendum 2019 of the Beaufort County School District Presented to the membership of the Greater Island Council of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton September 3, 2019

This document is a summary of a PowerPoint presentation created for the GIC Vision Steering Committee and presented later to the Town of Hilton Head Island – Our Plan participants

Whereas: The Community Project Review Committee (CPRC), a citizens group of 50 reviewed the physical status of 26 Beaufort County schools and recommended a comprehensive list of $629 million in facilities needs. 

Whereas: The Beaufort County Board of Education prioritized the list presented by the CPRC and have placed two separate questions on The November 5 referendum: 

  • Question 1 – $290 million in safety and security upgrades at all district schools; technology infrastructure upgrades at schools district-wide; classroom additions at River Ridge Academy and May River High; a replacement building for Robert Smalls International Academy; and renovations at three schools (Beaufort Elementary, Hilton Head Island Middle and Battery Creek High). 
  • Question 2 – An additional $54 million in Career and Technology Education expansions at Battery Creek and May River high schools; design work for renovations at Hilton Head Island High; improvements to athletic facilities at district middle and high schools; and playground improvements at early childhood centers, elementary and PreK-8 schools. The second question will only go into effect only if the first question is approved. 

Whereas: The amount of bonds the school district can issue without a referendum is limited to 8% of the value of all taxable property within the district, which is called the “8% debt limit.” The school district does not have enough 8% debt limit available to pay for the projects identified in the referendum. 

Whereas: The last bond referendum was passed in 2008. 

Whereas: Since that time, the school district’s total enrollment has increased by more than 3,000 students. The school district has issued bonds within its 8% debt limit to address as many capital needs as possible. The amounts available under the 8% debt limit have not been able to meet the ongoing capital needs and to address enrollment growth. 

Whereas: The Beaufort County Board of Education has experienced significant turnover since the last referendum, and six of its 11 members are new to the Board. The school district also has a new superintendent selected after a six-month nationwide search and interview process. 

Therefore: Be it resolved that the Greater Island Council of Hilton Head and Bluffton supports Referendum 2019 which provides essential funding via general obligation bonds for the Beaufort County School system. 

Joan Apple Lemoine Chair Education Committee August 30, 2019 

Beaufort County School System web site information about Referendum 2019 endum_2019 

Better Schools Now! Groups supporting passing Referendum 2019