BCSD to consider funding for renovations, expansions to prepare for student growth

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The  Berkeley County Board of Education is looking into a resolution to borrow money that will help fund renovations, additions and potential construction of new schools in the county.

The district is looking to plan ahead for student growth in the future.

District officials are considering expanding school campuses like Berkeley High School and Cane Bay High School.

They talked about potentially adding a new two-story building to the current campuses to prepare for more students.

Plans are in the beginning phases, nothing has been set and funding sources have not yet been determined.

In the Tuesday night Berkeley County Board of Education meeting, board members announced that they will consider a resolution next week where they would use bonds to leverage an 8 percent borrowing capacity from a debt service to pay for capital improvements to their schools.

That means they would take the total amount of property values in the district and borrow 8 percent of that total amount for capital projects, totaling millions of dollars.

Interim Superintendent for the Berkeley County School District Deon Jackson says if they don't pass the resolution they will have to find other funding sources for the projects.

"The Board is debating whether or not we are going to fully leverage the funds that are available to us. It's not an increase to the taxpayer. I think it's very important to note it's not an increase to the taxpayer," Jackson said. "These are funds that are available that to date have never really been used fully by Berkeley County School District."

The board will be deciding next Wednesday if they will use this funding or find other funding sources.

This debt service could bring in millions of dollars for the projects.

District officials say they are expecting to see an increase of 20,000 students over the next 20 years.

Jackson said there's also a projection of a need for 20 schools over the next 20 years.

"If we don't start preparing for the growth, we could soon be victims of the growth," Jackson said.

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