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Signs popping up around Aiken County support, oppose May 1 school bond referendum

April 20, 2018

Signs supporting and opposing the Aiken County Public School District’s $90 million bond referendum are popping up in yards and along roads.

Registered voters can vote for or against the referendum at a special election May 1. If approved, money from the referendum would pay for additions and added security at four existing schools and would help build a new elementary and middle school between Graniteville and North Augusta.

Signs supporting the referendum reference the website yes4ourfuture.com. According to the site’s Facebook page, ”′ Yes 4 Our Future ′ is a grassroots campaign made up of parents, grandparents, business owners and community members working together to promote safe, modern schools for Aiken County students. All promotional materials for this education initiative have been paid for by private donations.”

The signs opposing the referendum reference the website WeThePeopleAikenCARE.org.

According to the group’s Facebook page at Vote NO & NO Aiken County, We the People Aiken CARE is a political organization whose story is “Setting good financial examples for the children of Aiken County by resisting the Aiken County School’s wasteful proposal. And fighting for real progress and economic growth for the poor and middle class by mobilizing voters to go to the polls on May 1, 2018, and Vote NO on the proposed $90 million general obligation bond! Paid for by We The People Aiken Citizens Acting for Responsible Education (WTPA-CARE).”

If voters approve the bond referendum May 1, taxes for Aiken County property owners would go up for the next 20 years.

School district officials have estimated that taxes would increase $20 a year for property owners who pay the 4 percent tax rate and $30 a year for property owners who pay the 6 percent tax rate.

If approved, the referendum would help pay for six construction and expansion projects as follows:

• Renovation and expansion at Midland Valley High School in Graniteville, which is at 110 percent capacity, at a cost of $20 million

• Renovation and expansion at Millbrook Elementary in Aiken to provide better security at a cost of $11 million

• Renovation and expansion at Belvedere Elementary, which is at 101 percent capacity, at a cost of $12 million

• Renovation and expansion at Hammond Hill Elementary in North Augusta, which is at 104 percent capacity, at a cost of $15 million

• Construction of a new elementary school and middle school on donated land between Graniteville and North Augusta at a cost of $32 million.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 1 for voting. The list of polling locations is at the Aiken Standard site.

Voters can cast absentee ballots from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Aiken County Government Center at 1930 University Parkway in Aiken. The last day to vote absentee is April 30.

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