Bond referendum in Fort Mill - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Bond referendum in Fort Mill

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FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) -

Fort Mill voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide on a $54.3 million bond referendum. If passed the money will go to help relieve overcrowding at Fort Mill High School and Nation Ford High School.

Also the money would be used to build a new elementary school, upgrade high school stadiums, purchase security cameras, and arm students with technology, like iPads.

"We think that tool in the hands of highly trained," Fort Mill High School Principal Dee Christopher said. "And highly talented teacher will make a difference in student achievement."

At Fort Mill HS, mobiles have already been moved to accommodate the growth expected for next year. That student population has grown to about 1600 students.

"This school was originally built for 1200 students," the principal said. "And we haven't added any bathrooms since then, and the halls aren't any bigger."

There is a property tax increase associated with this referendum. If approved, taxes will go up $66 a year based on a $100,000 home. Here is reaction from some taxpayers.

"Fort Mill has always been one of the best schools in the state," Taxpayer Charlotte Adair said. "And if we don't vote for this, maybe that will change and we don't want it to change."

"I think schools is one of those things you really can't cut on," Taxpayer Michaele Fitzpatrick said. "And if you have to tighten your belt a little - that's what you have to do."

Other taxpayers say home builders should pay for the improvements to handle growth in schools.  They don't want their taxes going up.

Before heading to the polls voters will have to show ID before they can vote. It's now the law. This will be the first election with this new law in place.

Supporters of the bond referendum say they have been busy getting the word out and telling voters about the change.

Fort Mill School district hasn't had a bond referendum since 2008, and supporters claim now is the time to have one.

"We're not in a situation of build it and they will come," Parent Michele Branning said. "They're here. Our population continues to grow."

Polls open Tuesday from 7AM to 7PM.

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