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Voters will see bond on ballot

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The Columbia County school board decided Wednesday to bring a $45 million bond referendum before voters in the July primary.

Officials said the bond would help start construction on a new Columbia Middle School, repair existing schools, make technology improvements and purchase school buses.

It would be repaid with proceeds from a renewal of 1 percent sales tax also likely going before voters July 20.

With estimated earnings between $108 million and $130 million collected from 2012-17, the sales tax would be used to pay off bond debt, replace Evans and Martinez elementary schools and potentially replace North Columbia Elementary, North Harlem Elementary, South Columbia Elementary, Harlem Middle and the alternative school.

Board members also decided to promote Lakeside High School Principal Jeff Carney to assistant superintendent. He will replace Lauren Williams, associate superintendent of student learning, who is retiring.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of Carney, with board member Mike Sleeper the dissenting vote. Sleeper would not comment after the meeting on his reasons for voting against Carney's promotion.

Superintendent Charles Nagle said he recommended Carney for assistant superintendent because of his ability to build consensus with teachers and his record of innovation for improving learning.

A graduate of Evans High School, Carney has worked in the Columbia County school system for 21 years, 16 years as an administrator.

Carney said he looks forward to making a larger contribution to the school system and "can't wait to get started doing that."

Williams' last day is May 31, but Carney said he didn't know when he will assume his new role.

Though he will immediately start a transition process for his move to the central office, Carney said he first will need to make sure Lakeside is prepared for the upcoming school year.

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Chillen 03/25/10 - 07:17 am
If the bond and the 1% sales

If the bond and the 1% sales tax pass what happens to the $45 million dollar bond if the economy tanks even further and sales tax revenue is not there to pay it back? In this economy no one should count their chickens before they hatch.

egan01 03/25/10 - 08:37 am
What is the problem with pay

What is the problem with pay as you go. You do not have interest payment or large fees to bond brokers. we need to get rid of the people on the school board who think you have to put it on the credit now.

msgret92 03/25/10 - 11:22 am
The administration and the

The administration and the board have already decided to do this with little input from the public, now they are trying to get the money a little sooner to grow their bureaucracy faster. When the campaigning for the bond starts we will be told that if we don't vote for the bond they will raise our property taxes. We are also paying their campaign cost so this is a no win situation for taxpayers.

cathieisgood 03/25/10 - 12:04 pm
Since when does Columbia

Since when does Columbia County need any excuse for going up on taxes? It is a given every year that property taxes are going up and now they EXPECT renewals of the sales tax. I hope they build bigger schools with that money. It seems that the schools they build end up being filled to capacity within a year after building.

Dixieman 03/25/10 - 04:33 pm
Vote NO. Limited gov't is

Vote NO. Limited gov't is why I moved to CC; we are taxed too much already.

dstewartsr 03/25/10 - 07:25 pm
After all, the population has

After all, the population has increased about 25% while tax collections went up 300-400%. Anyone seen a return on that; or think that money has been well spent?

mriley 04/04/10 - 10:40 pm
You have to remember that

You have to remember that this is a continuation of a $.01 tax that you are already paying. It's not a new tax. For example, just for Columbia Middle to bring it up to current state code for students, it would cost $8 million, and that's just one school (without building a new one...the new CMS would already be built up to state code AND relieve overcrowding in two additional schools). Since much of the building or renovation has to be done, according to the state, what's the best way to raise the money? It might be the SPLOST. What's your idea for a better way to raise the millions of dollars needed?

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