CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Half a billion dollars worth of school building projects will be on the ballot next month. Nearly three dozen projects make up the wish list for the Charleston County School District.
On Wednesday, local leaders joined in on the campaign to gain your vote. They're saying the new schools will help prepare kids for jobs in this region.
"We have to prepare these kids," said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.
Summey says voters have a chance to make a difference.
"If you don't vote, you don't have a voice on anything you do. In my opinion, if you don't take the time to vote, you shouldn't take the time to complain," said Summey.
Local leaders say extending the penny sales tax would help prepare more kids for jobs in this area.
"Our economy in the town of Mount Pleasant is going to depend on a skilled work force," said Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page.
If passed, 35 school projects will be built in Charleston County.
The group says technology has to be upgraded in addition to solving the problem of too many students.
Charleston City Councilman William Gregorie said, "If we don't provide the kind of facilities to nurture the education pursuits, then our cities will be behind."
The Charleston Metro Chamber is also backing the Yes 4 Schools Campaign, a group of community business leaders.
"If we don't do this right now, we're going to end up with a property tax increase later. The current projection would show that we would double our property taxes," said Patrick Bryant, chair of Yes 4 Schools Campaign.
The project list also has the full support of the school board.
"We particularly like reducing debt. We like not adding debt. The pay as you go concept is really good," said board chair, Cindy Bohn Coats.
If passed, the penny sales tax will automatically end after six years. The school district is expected to gain over half a billion dollars in revenue to pay for the projects during that time frame.
School board members are still working to rank the 35 projects in order of importance.
Board chair Cindy Bohn Coats says they will use population growth as a guide to deciding which projects are at the top of the list.
Final Project List: Projects are not listed in order of importance.
Grand Total Project List - $531,100,00