The next 1-cent sales tax for the Columbia County school board might produce a debt-free system by 2012, school administrators told board members at a meeting Tuesday.
"When we get through with the next (special purpose option sales tax) we will be totally debt-free excep for one payment, unless we issue more bonds," school Controller Pat Sullivan said. "We will be in really great financial shape."
Board members approved presenting a referendum to voters March 15 to ask for a third 1-cent sales tax lasting from 2007 to 2012 and to obtain bonds for as much as $30 million.
After the third sales tax ends, the school system would have only one more board payment of about $3 million to make, Sullivan said.
The $30 million bond would be used to build three middle schools, two elementary schools and a high school, and to purchase school buses, complete roofing repairs to Harlem and Evans High schools, and to get new technologies, Sullivan said.
If the new sales tax is aproved by voters, the school system would seek a $10 million or $15 million bond in April or May, she said. it would ocntinue to seek further bonds as needed until the $30 million limit is exhausted.
"We do need this resolution passed, so we can get all clearances to hold a referendum in March," school Superintendent Tommy Price said.
That money would be used to repay old bonds, dating back to 1994, in addition ot the added $30 million in bonds, Sullivan said. Currently, the school system is about $49 million in debt from previous bonds.
Also at the meeting:
The board agreed to present two rezoning options for the new elementary school on Mullikin Road at a public forum scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Riverside Middle School. The rezoning proposals would transfer some pupils currently zoned for Riverside, Greenbrier and Stevens Creek elementary schools to the new school scheduled to open at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year.
Both proposals are available for viewing on the system's Web site at www.ccboe.net
the board approved the schedule for the 2005 summer school, which will be held at Lakeside High School.
Registration will be held May 2-13, with a final registration May 27. Classes begin June 1 and end July 13.
Tuition is $75 per course if the classes are taken to replace failing grades and $250 per course if the classes are taken for enrichment.
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