Some Berkeley Co. school construction projects could be delayed

Some Berkeley Co. school construction projects could be delayed
The school district’s desired projects and maintenance costs total more than $48 million. However, the district’s debt service millage will only provide about $31.6 million, and the school board is unwilling to increase the tax rate over 70 mils. (Live 5 News).

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Berkeley County School District won’t have enough money to pay for all of its desired plans to build and maintain schools next year.

The district’s chief financial officer said the money the district would receive from the issuance and sale of general obligation bonds is about $17 million less than what’s needed to cover all of those costs.

The school district’s desired projects and preventive maintenance expenses total more than $48 million. However, the district’s current debt service millage will only provide about $31.6 million, and the school board is unwilling to increase the tax rate over 70 mils to afford more.

This will force school board members to consider which projects from the district’s Five Year Facility Plan should be funded first.

Expansion plans at Cane Bay Elementary and Cane Bay Middle are likely to be prioritized, however no decisions have been made at this time.

The two schools are already operating under attendance caps because of the high enrollment numbers expected for the 2020-2021 school year.

During Tuesday’s budget workshop, some board members also suggested classroom additions at Sangaree Middle and the construction of the new K-8 school in the Carnes Crossroads area should be guaranteed.

“I think you’ve got to focus on…what we have to get done, versus what needs to get done,” board members said. “You can’t solve the problem there until you have places to zone kids to go.”

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