The Columbia County school board agreed Tuesday to hold a referendum for renewal of the 1 percent sales tax for education on the July 20 primary election.
If voters choose to continue the education sales tax, which funds capital improvements, as many as five new schools might pop up in the county during the next few years, Superintendent Charles Nagle has said.
The penny tax also would fund millions of dollars in improvements at existing schools. It also can be used for the purchase of new school buses and technology upgrades.
Nagle told board members he intends to present a five-year facility plan at their Jan. 26 meeting. The facility plan will guide the system's construction efforts and is a state Department of Education requirement to earn state dollars for building needs.
As a teaser, Nagle said the facility plan calls for $150-$160 million in upgrades.
With the proposed sales tax, school officials hope to raise $120 million to $160 million from 2012 to 2017.
Officials said they want to seek voter approval this year to start selling bonds based on the potential earnings of the sales tax to address immediate needs in the school system.
Also at the meeting, the board selected trustee Mickie Blackburn as vice chairwoman and set new meeting times. On the second Tuesday of each month, meetings will continue to be held at 5:30 p.m. However, board study sessions, previously held on the fourth Tuesday of each month, now will be held the fourth Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m.
Dates for summer school also were announced. The first day of summer classes is June 1, and the last is July 9. It again will be held this year at Greenbrier High School. Final registration for summer school will be May 28.
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