2016 Bond & Capital Sales Tax Referendum


In August 2016 the Darlington County Board of Education approved sending a bond and capital sales tax referendum to voters in November to fund the construction of three new elementary schools to replace six aging school facilities in the school district. The bond, which will cost no more than $60 million, will be paid through a one-cent sales tax that will replace the expiring one-cent sales tax that voters approved in 2003. 
 
 
The Darlington County School District (DCSD) has more than 2 million square feet of building space. The average age of DCSD’s 23 schools is 46.17 years. The average age of the district’s elementary schools is 55 years. Aging schools present challenges in maintenance, security measures, and the ability to handle current and future technological needs.
 

The Darlington County Board of Education has identified six schools that have aging facilities and smaller enrollments.

  • Brunson-Dargan Elementary School (Darlington) – 51 years old
  • Cain Elementary School (Darlington) – 61 years old
  • Washington Street Elementary School (Hartsville) – 55 years old
  • West Hartsville Elementary School (Hartsville) - 60 years old
  • Spaulding Elementary School (Lamar) – 63 years old
  • Lamar Elementary School (Lamar) – 68 years old
 

 If voters approve the referendum in November, the DCSD will use fund balance to pay off the remaining debt from the 2003 penny sales tax referendum. The new one-cent sales tax would begin after the old penny sales tax expired. In essence, the penny sales tax would continue, and consumers would not see a tax increase.
 
 
The Darlington County Board of Education considered several options to meet the facility needs of the district, including raising property taxes and alternate funding plans. Ultimately the Board decided the continuation of the penny sales tax would be the most cost-effective solution for taxpayers while still resulting in three new schools for the county. The Darlington County Board of Education has not raised operating millage for the school district in more than eight years. 
 


Facts about the 2016 DCSD Bond Referendum

  • If approved by voters, the one-penny sales tax will raise up to $60 million for the construction of three new schools.
  • These three schools will replace six aging schools.
  • If the referendum passes in November, the school district will use fund balance to pay off the remaining debt from the 2003 penny sales tax referendum. 
  • The new one-cent sales tax would begin after the old penny sales tax expired.
  • There would not be an increase or decrease in the penny sales tax. For tax payers, the amount they pay would be the same.
  • The average age of all DCSD schools is 46 years. 
  • The average age of the six schools that would be impacted is 58 years old.
  • The board has not made any decisions about exactly where the potential new schools would be built, choosing to wait until after the November vote.
  • Likewise, no decisions have been made about what to do with the old schools, if the voters approve the referendum in November.
 

2012 Master Facility Plan