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70 percent say 'no' on Aiken bond referendum

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AIKEN --- The Aiken County school bond referendum was defeated with a resounding "no" Tuesday. Seventy percent of residents voted against the $236 million referendum to upgrade six school facilities.

Protesters share their thoughts during Tuesday voting.  Staff
Staff
Protesters share their thoughts during Tuesday voting.

Topic: Aiken County Schools
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"I know just because we've won this victory ... they (the Aiken County school district) expected this to happen," said Jane Page Thompson, of the Vote No group.

With 78 of 78 precincts reporting, 13,716 voters opposed the measure and 5,744 favored it.

"I'm sorry it didn't pass," said Barry Adams of Security Federal Bank, the chairman of the Vote Yes for Kids group. "I truly think it's the right thing to do, but the great thing about living in this nation is that majority rules, and today a majority of the voters said, 'Nope, it's not the right thing to do, or it's not the right time, or it's not the right amount of money.' "

The bond issue got significant support in Saluda County, home of Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary/Middle, with all of the precincts supporting the referendum.

In the cities of Aiken and North Augusta, where support for the referendum was expected to be greater, less than a handful of precincts favored it.

The school board and administrators will now have to decide how they will use an annual estimated $14 million to repair and upgrade facilities.

Deputy Superintendent David Caver said Jackson Middle School would be at the top of that list. The school's cafeteria area was scheduled for a major renovation before the bond referendum was put on the ballot.

Superintendent Beth Everitt said it was too soon to say whether the district would pursue another referendum anytime soon, but she thought the research conducted on facility needs was healthy and useful in helping shape long-term plans.

"I think the conversation and the questions that were asked, all of that helps inform our community," she said. "Even though we didn't win, I still think it's been a great process. We'll move forward."

Results*

Yes: 5,744 (29.55 percent)

NO: 13,716 (70.45 percent)

*75 of 78 precincts reporting

Source: Aiken County Registration and Elections

Precinct-by-precinct results
7.52
Precinct

Registered Voters/
Votes Cast

Ballots cast/
Percent of Votes

Precinct
Percentage turnout

Aiken No. 1117142836.55
Yes20047.28
No22352.72
Aiken No. 2113014112.48
Yes7453.62
No6446.38
Aiken No. 313751259.09
Yes5849.15
No6050.85
Aiken No. 46738112.04
Yes5771.25
No2328.75
Aiken No. 5113924821.77
Yes10944.86
No13455.14
Aiken No. 6123440532.82
Yes14836.91
No25363.09
Bath No. 77609111.97
Yes1617.78
No7482.22
Beech Island 8138815611.24
Yes4630.07
No10769.93
Belvedere 916061569.71
Yes5233.55
No10366.45
Carolina Heights 101012898.79
Yes3441.46
No4858.54
China Springs 111440523.61
Yes1936.54
No3363.46
Clearwater 126347712.15
Yes1114.47
No6585.53
College Acres 13162432119.77
Yes6319.63
No25880.37
Eureka 14113019216.99
Yes4121.58
No14978.42
Gloverville 1587816018.22
Yes3018.99
No12881.01
Graniteville 16103119919.30
Yes4924.87
No14875.13
Jackson 17140138027.12
Yes4211.26
No33188.74
Langley 18115115313.29
Yes1711.26
No13488.74
Lynwood 1981314317.59
Yes1510.56
No12789.44
Millbrook 20179052629.39
Yes16331.35
No35768.65
Monetta 2194617118.08
Yes11971.69
No4728.31
Montmorenci 22195845323.14
Yes8619.11
No36480.89
New Ellenton 23138728620.62
Yes8429.58
No20070.42
New Holland 2463212920.41
Yes1310.16
No11589.84
N. Augusta 25127615712.30
Yes5736.31
No10063.69
N. Augusta 26170922112.93
Yes7936.24
No13963.76
N. Augusta 27147741528.10
Yes18545.23
No22454.77
N. Augusta 28111429826.75
Yes10134.01
No19665.99
N. Augusta 29107818417.07
Yes6434.97
No11965.03
Oak Grove 307047911.22
Yes2430.38
No5569.62
Perry 3164011618.13
Yes2925.00
No8775.00
Salley 325827312.54
Yes2128.77
No5271.23
Shaws Fork 3352112824.57
Yes2217.60
No10382.40
Shiloh 34147129920.33
Yes8027.03
No21672.97
Six Points 35142738827.19
Yes11329.20
No27470.80
Tabernacle 365049218.25
Yes2629.55
No6270.45
Talatha 37119922018.35
Yes4219.53
No17380.47
Vaucluse 3868614721.43
Yes3927.08
No10572.92
Wagener 39164620712.58
Yes5326.37
No14873.63
Ward 401241249/ 20.06
Yes9337.96
No15262.04
Warrenville 41132527520.75
Yes4115.30
No22784.70
White Pond 426438312.91
Yes1518.99
No6481.01
Windsor 43171720011.65
Yes3417.80
No15782.20
Belvedere 44122915412.53
Yes5334.64
No10065.36
Misty Lakes 45136719914.56
Yes4422.22
No15477.78
Six Points 46127012910.16
Yes7962.70
No4737.30
Aiken No. 47108530828.39
Yes13042.48
No176
Hammond 48167028316.95
Yes6222.14
No21877.86
Willow Sprgs 49121019516.12
Yes3216.58
No16183.42
Breezy Hill 50139030321.80
Yes8327.57
No21872.43
Midland Valley 51167940023.82
Yes8521.46
No31178.54
Levels 52186732017.14
Yes11034.92
No20565.08
Hollow Creek 532934101534.59
Yes22322.19
No78277.81
N. Augusta 54102611311.01
Yes3430.63
No7769.37
N. Augusta 55102611311.01
Yes3430.63
No7769.37
Couchton 56125425420.26
Yes3915.42
No21484.58
Redds Branch 5790814616.08
Yes2416.78
No11983.22
Fox Creek 58155430219.43
Yes13043.48
No16956.52
Pine Forest 59110316815.23
Yes2414.46
No14285.54
Gem Lakes 60241587636.27
Yes31135.62
No56264.38
Silver Bluff 61157919912.60
Yes8543.81
No10956.19
Belvedere 62108114012.95
Yes4735.61
No8564.39
Ascauga Lake 63213829213.66
Yes12342.12
No16957.88
Cedar Creek 642904100834.71
Yes16616.60
No83483.40
Sleepy Hollow 65162747629.26
Yes11925.32
No35174.68
Hitchcock 66102935334.31
Yes11934.00
No23166.00
N. Augusta 67103328227.30
Yes12042.70
No16157.30
N. Augusta 68123726921.75
Yes9435.07
No17464.93
Anderson Pond 69117149942.61
Yes10020.08
No39879.92
Sandstone 70177237821.33
Yes11430.32
No26269.68
Midland Valley 7178316721.33
Yes2615.76
No13984.24
Levels 7272915421.12
Yes5233.77
No10266.23
Fox Creek 7378824130.58
Yes9037.50
No15062.50
Absentee
Yes23333.14
No47066.86
Comments (57) Add comment
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Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/25/10 - 08:26 pm
0
0
Might be a little early to

Might be a little early to say but looks like a no to me. The voters have spoken.

Luckily at the local level voters have a "say" in whether or not their money will be spent. I wish we were that lucky on a federal level and didn't have to wait until November to begin changing the guards/spenders.

annw
15
Points
annw 05/25/10 - 08:38 pm
0
0
When you pander to the useful

When you pander to the useful idiots with messages of hate, fear, bigotry, greed and selfishness this is what you get -- people who only care about their own self interest and don't care about what is best for the whole county. Just more moral bankruptcy from the backward looking Repugs.

jb1234
0
Points
jb1234 05/25/10 - 08:51 pm
0
0
Well, it looks like Aiken

Well, it looks like Aiken County Public Schools will remain in the 1950s. Way to go citizens!

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 05/25/10 - 08:56 pm
0
0
I don't see anything wrong

I don't see anything wrong with trying to protect your nest egg that you worked hard and saved for 30 to 40 years, only to have it taken a little at a time by a bunch of worthless buzzards,(politicians), and given to the dregs of society, of which encompasses all ethnicities. They need to increase the sales tax by a couple of pennies, to help encourage equal rights. That way everyone gets to pay their fair share.

rcpasc48
64
Points
rcpasc48 05/25/10 - 08:56 pm
0
0
annw said: "When you pander

annw said:
"When you pander to the useful idiots with messages of hate, fear, bigotry"
You sound like you are an expert.
"Useful idiots" is not playing nice. It's called hate. It's not debate. It's not civil. It is just plain disagreement with your stand on the issue and nothing more.
And methinks you are calling a lot of democrats that voted "no" "repugs". The vote ratio does not support the democrat and republican demographics of Aiken County. Face it. A lot of democrats voted "no."

jb1234
0
Points
jb1234 05/25/10 - 08:57 pm
0
0
Give me a break crackerjack,

Give me a break crackerjack, if you can't spare an extra $100 to $200 PER YEAR to allow the students to learn in a proper environment, then may the Lord help you. Also, if your 'nest egg' is going to be used up by an extra 100 bucks a year, then it's really not much of a nest egg to begin with is it?

Connor Threlkeld
758
Points
Connor Threlkeld 05/25/10 - 08:58 pm
0
0
I have a feeling when they

I have a feeling when they try this again in a few years (which they will have to because the problems remain), it will cost a lot more money to do the same thing (or the same amount to do less work) because the recession will likely be over and construction demand will have risen, driving contractor prices higher.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 05/25/10 - 09:01 pm
0
0
jb You evidently are more in

jb You evidently are more in touch with the SC School System than I am. The new schools that have been built around the state, have improved the environment, but to say it will "allow the students to learn in a proper environment" is not supported in those schools test scores of the students after 4 years in that "new" school.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 05/25/10 - 09:05 pm
0
0
The teachers that aren't up

The teachers that aren't up to par, need to be re-trained or phased out. Unfortunately, they are protected by their Union affiliation. But to build a new school without changing out some of the failing teachers, is like taking a bath, and putting the same underwear back on.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 05/25/10 - 09:05 pm
0
0
its not the repairing or

its not the repairing or building of new schools we are against. Its all the extras we dont need in these trouble times. Like a 7 million dollar football field or 30 million for an auditorium. its wasteful spending like this that killed the bond.

jb1234
0
Points
jb1234 05/25/10 - 09:05 pm
0
0
Connor, anytime you talk

Connor, anytime you talk about raising taxes (no matter how much or how little), the people are going to oppose it (no matter how worthy the cause). The only problem is, like you said, these projects will still have to be completed, but unfortunately the costs to complete them will be higher, and the taxpayers will be footing a higher bill.

rcpasc48
64
Points
rcpasc48 05/25/10 - 09:06 pm
0
0
jb1234 says: "Give me a

jb1234 says: "Give me a break crackerjack, if you can't spare an extra $100 to $200 PER YEAR to allow the students to learn in a proper environment, then may the Lord help you."
----------------
Are you one of the ones that are generous with other people's money. Straw man example here: It is good that you aren't living on a shoestring budget because of a devasting illness in the family or have recently lost your job and are border line losing your home. There are straws that break the backs of financially strapped people. What safeguards would prevent someone losing their family home because of a higher tax? I have a suggestion. Why don't you start an special education fund and donate a couple hundred every year? Why don't you start a volunteer program similar to Habitat to Humanity to make the schools better and donate a few hours each week to making the kids environment better?

When can I expect to read about it in the Chronicle?

SeniorMom
0
Points
SeniorMom 05/25/10 - 09:18 pm
0
0
I appreciate the Chronicle's

I appreciate the Chronicle's honesty in reporting the issue compared to other print media. Bottom line is that this bond package was too expensive and loaded with FAT. Since when do we need a $7 million sports complex to educate students? We need to return to the basics and focus on instruction and not adding more Brookhaven jobs. Today's vote is an indictment on the school board and administration.

Eliminate area offices and half of administration before I vote yes. Why was this election held 5/25 and not June 8 to save money? Aiken County tried to sneak this bologna by everyone with a nice quiet vote. People aren't stupid even though most educators think they are. The people have SPOKEN loud and clear!

dwb619
93906
Points
dwb619 05/25/10 - 09:15 pm
0
0
Just think how many more

Just think how many more non-teaching $100K + administrators they could have had if this had passed. By the way, I tend to vote Democrat.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 05/25/10 - 09:26 pm
0
0
nofrills is correct. The

nofrills is correct. The bloated bond was spending a huge portion on non-academic structures that aren't necessary. Then you have the school board who was not forthcoming with a good plan on when and where they were gonna build and what they were going to do with the old buildings. They also weren't forthcoming about how the bond was also going to tax personal property like cars, boats, RVs, etc. Then they rushed the referendum today at a cost of nearly $50,000 instead of waiting until the primary elections in June. The school board refuses to justify why its admin expenses have gone up by $20 million since 2002 or why it needs 5 area superintendents with their own offices, staff, cars, etc. It isn't like the school board has been doing a good job and people trusted them. It smelled like a bad deal all the way around and people voted no.

It doesn't matter when they hold the next bond referendum or how many they hold, they will also be voted down until these operational issues in the school system are corrected.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 05/25/10 - 09:26 pm
0
0
dwb619 You might tend to vote

dwb619 You might tend to vote Democrat, but you evidently pay attention to the issues and know the waste involved is non-productive in increasing the students learning ability,by voting with your brain.

Connor Threlkeld
758
Points
Connor Threlkeld 05/25/10 - 09:44 pm
0
0
This bond package did have

This bond package did have plenty of problems (limited detail provided on a quarter-billion dollar spending plan, a controversial stadium, etc.) and it was probably doomed from the start, but I don't think you can repeatedly deny funding for some of these projects because of problems with the adults involved. There are some serious problems that affect students that need to be addressed.

Ex: Handicapped children at the middle school in Graniteville can't participate in science labs because the labs are on the third floor and the wheelchair-accessible ramp was condemned by building authorities. The current building is to the point where renovations would cost only $1 million less than a completely new facility. That's a problem, no matter where you stand on the issue.

If the schools come back with a much leaner and more fiscally-responsible package, it should be given fair consideration, because there are a number of problems that do need to be taken care of. And no, the football stadium is not a 'problem' (I'm there several times a year shooting football video, it's a great venue).

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 05/25/10 - 09:58 pm
0
0
Connor Threlkeld, A new

Connor Threlkeld,
A new wheelchair accessible ramp is not that expensive, and I went to a school that had 4 stories, and there was some kind of lab, Chem, Physics, Biology, etc. on each floor. I don't think it would cost a million to move the lab to a lower floor, or put the lab in a portable.

augusta citizen
9357
Points
augusta citizen 10/19/12 - 09:50 am
0
0
..

..

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 05/25/10 - 09:59 pm
0
0
There are several legitimate

There are several legitimate points that the NO voters have made...but they sure are buried in a pile of bullshizzle.

This business that you people didn't know boats, cars, and RV's were taxed by the BOE...SURE they are...that is what AD VALOREM taxes ARE. Civics 101. Been that way forever. If this was in some way NEWS to you, and you are older than 25 years old...you should be ashamed of yourself.

Also...you geniuses REALLY want government entities to identify real estate plans BEFORE they are closed in PRIVATE? There is a reason that one of the FEW justifications for closing a government meeting to the public is when they make REAL ESTATE DECISIONS.

Celebrate your victory tonight...but you guys clouded the issue with more CRAP than I have ever seen tossed out in a local bond referendum.

This is tantamount to winning an election not because you were the best candidate, but because you were able to trick the voters into believing the other candidate was the Anti-Christ.

The key word being TRICKED.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 05/25/10 - 10:04 pm
0
0
If ifs and buts were candy

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts........Connor if the board had a much leaner, fiscally responsible, detailed plan for today then it probably would have passed and we wouldn't be discussing this. However, they went with a whole hog Obama/Pelosi style agenda of limited transparancy, pork, and refused to answer questions about current expenditures surrounding their current $14 million yearly capex expenditures and seemingly bloated operational and admin wastes. Maybe the operational and capex issues are apple and oranges but that fruit gets paid for out of the same wallets and those wallets are shut for bidness until things change.

The fact that a handicapped ramp at a school was condemned by building inspectors speaks volumes as to the maintenance, upkeep, and oversight given to Aiken County schools which also lack much in the way of transparency.

Julia Sellers
0
Points
Julia Sellers 05/25/10 - 10:12 pm
0
0
I hope no matter the feelings

I hope no matter the feelings on the issue, Aiken County residents start participating in the process on more than just election day. It is a time investment, but a worthy one, nonetheless.
@seniormom Stuart Bedenbaugh with Aiken Co. Reg/Elec. said the vote can't be held the same day as the primary because a party ballot has to be chosen in the primary and the school district vote is non-partisan. The the ballots have to be a separate entity. He said the office didn't have the machines or capability to conduct two elections on the same day.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 05/25/10 - 10:10 pm
0
0
The facts speak for

The facts speak for themselves Austin. There was little transparency in the referendum. Aiken County has 5 area superintendents making $100k with staff et al. There is no reason for that other than bloated government bureacracy. The admin costs in the systme have increased by $20 million dollars in the past 8 years. Go build some schools with that.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 05/25/10 - 10:22 pm
0
0
Where is your outrage,

Where is your outrage, opposition, and concern over the top heavy administration during your BOE elections? Every bit of the bloat you describe will be securely in place come 8am tomorrow...and next week...next month...and next year.
You have successfully defeated a one time, over sized bond referendum, now go after your FULL TIME FAT STAFF.

Today's election was like ordering a Diet Coke...AFTER you downed three Big Macs and four orders of fries every day for the last 20 years.

irishgent
15
Points
irishgent 05/25/10 - 10:29 pm
0
0
To some of the poll workers

To some of the poll workers in Beech Island,it is ok to smile and be a little friendlier when voters come in.I would like to suggest that if you dont like working the polls stay home in the furture.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 05/25/10 - 11:28 pm
0
0
Head(s) should roll at the

Head(s) should roll at the Aiken County Govt bringing this ill timed,ill conceived, crude attack on the homeowners wallets.

DaddyFrog
46
Points
DaddyFrog 05/26/10 - 12:31 am
0
0
It was reported on the news

It was reported on the news tonight that the School Board intended to bring this to a vote again during the upcoming primary, or if that didn't work during the elections in Nov.. Also a spokeman for the Aiken County GOP said his party did not take out a full page add in the Aiken Standard endorsing a " Yes" vote. The add showed it was paid for by Republicans of Aiken County. Sounds like a little skullduggery going on to get this thing passed. That $100 on a $100,000 home would change real quick come reassesment time. The average home in Aiken Co. is about $160,000. Look into a countywide sales tax to fix these schools. And that's something else, get those maintainance guys out there, and work on these schools this summer.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/26/10 - 05:57 am
0
0
I didn't have a dog in this

I didn't have a dog in this hunt, but to me the main problem was typical of most of the SPLOST/referendum type elections. Supporters arrange to have a separate election, often in the midst of vacation season (and in this case, leading into a holiday weekend), to essentially rig the turnout in their favor. This was especially obvious in this one, where primaries and a general election were right around the corner. Instead of minimal cost in adding the topic to one of these, they choose to try to slip it in, at an added cost of tens of thousand of dollars. Granted, both parties would have to have added it to the primary ballots, but no such problem would have been faced in November.

Dixieman
15006
Points
Dixieman 05/26/10 - 06:09 am
0
0
Yay! Giving money to

Yay! Giving money to politicians (which is what this is about) is like giving Jack Daniels and car keys to a 16-year-old boy.

corgimom
32615
Points
corgimom 05/26/10 - 06:37 am
0
0
Thank God my child is grown

Thank God my child is grown and out of school.

The bond referendum was fair. Aiken County is enormous, and this referendum wanted to fix schools all over the county, not just one or two. There are schools in Aiken County that are in desperate need of repair and renovation, and a new high school for NAHS is critical.

I agree, these problems aren't going away, they are going to have to be addressed, and yes, it will cost more down the road.

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