Dorchester 2 asking for $179.9 million
In addition to choosing three school board members, Dorchester District 2 voters will be asked if they want to approve a $179.9 million bond referendum to build four new schools and improve others.
A second question asks for an additional $7.5 million to build an aquatics facility.
The primary Yes 4 Schools campaign supports the $179.9 million general obligation bonds for the school projects.
That would raise the taxes on a $150,000 house by $102 annually to pay for four new schools and renovations to several others. In addition, Rollings Middle School of the Arts would be renovated into district offices and the current district office building would be renovated into additional classroom space for Summerville High School.
Rollings, which was built in 1925, and Knightsville Elementary, built in 1938, are two of the oldest school buildings in the state.
“We have children going to schools that other districts would tear down,” said Superintendent Joe Pye.
“We’ve been very prudent and efficient, but we’ve run out of ideas and now we have no choice but to go to the public and ask for help.”
Voters have not approved a bond referendum for District 2 since passing a $25.5 million vote in March 1995 to renovate Summerville High School and turn the Gregg campus into a middle school.
A $98 million referendum in March 2003 failed, and in March 2009 the board shelved a $165 million bond referendum, fearing a lack of support.
Most of the vocal opposition this year has come from people who oppose the tax increase.
“I don’t have any children in the schools,” said Peggy Janson of Summerville. “I’m retired and on a fixed income. I understand the schools may need improvements, but I’d prefer if they’d find another way to pay for them instead of raising my taxes.”
Voters also will be asked if they want to approve an aquatics facility, which would be a joint venture of the school district and the Summerville Family YMCA.
It includes a 25-yard-by-25-meter pool, a second pool with three lap lanes and a “fun pool,” locker rooms, offices, a community room and seating for 700 spectators.
It would tack on an additional $3 in taxes annually.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.