Berkeley, Dorchester vote Yes 4 Schools

Voters in Dorchester District 2 and Berkeley County School District agreed with their school boards that new schools are needed, supporting the Yes 4 Schools bond referendums in both districts, according to unofficial results.

“We’re going to start moving forward tomorrow,” said Berkeley County School Superintendent Rodney Thompson. In Dorchester District 2, Superintendent Joe Pye echoed Thompson’s remarks.

Dorchester 2 sought $179.9 million to build four new schools and renovate 10 others. The bonds would raise taxes on a $150,000 house by about $102 annually.

Berkeley asked for $198 million to build five new schools and renovate 29 others. The measure adds $60 to the tax bill on a $150,000 house for three years, doubles that until 2023, then goes back to $60 for three years.

Voters in Dorchester 2 voted 59 percent in favor of the referendum and 41 percent against with 51 of 63 precincts reporting, according to Yes 4 Schools co-chairman Brian Moniz.

“I thought it was going to come down to the wire and I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s not tighter than it is, but I thought the community would rally behind it,” Moniz said.

Dorchester County was slow in reporting results because of a computer glitch, so the campaign sent representatives to the polls to get results, Moniz said.

He wasn’t concerned about the vote being turned over by the remaining 12 precincts because “We’ve got about a 4,500-vote cushion at this point, so there would have to be zero votes for it in those precincts,” he said.

A second question in Dorchester 2, which would add a $7.5 million Aquatic Center that will be a joint project of the district and the Summerville Family YMCA, also looked like it was going to pass. It would add $3 to tax bills. With 12 precincts still unreported, the vote was 52 percent for the center and 48 percent against it.

Berkeley County’s Yes 4 Schools campaign faced vocal opposition from Berkeley Citizens for Sustainable Education, which shifted the campaign’s focus to ethics questions in recent days. The vote was passing 56 percent to 43 percent with 52 of 66 precincts reporting.

“The students and employees of the district were the winners tonight,” said Thompson. “I’d like to thank our board for having the vision to let the public decide this issue.”

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.

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