Orangeburg County School District plans to borrow a total of $18.4 million to pay for capital projects, repay a 16-year-old bond and provide immediate cash while awaiting property tax revenue .
District officials say the borrowing plan will not raise taxes.
“The borrowing plan is intended to retain 42 factories,” district financial obligations attorney Frannie Heizer told trustees at their monthly board meeting on Tuesday.
“No mileage increases are expected with this debt,” she said.
The Trustees have approved the following binding resolutions:
• Borrowing $4.1 million in a general bond obligation for capital projects to be paid over one year.
Directors Idella Carson and Dr. William O’Quinn opposed this bond issue.
• Borrow $4.3 million to repay a Qualified Zone Academy bond originally issued by the former Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 in 2006. The bond at the time was a 0% interest bond. The bond is maturing and in order to have the funds to repay the debt, the district needed to issue a repayment bond.
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The deposit will be refunded by March using property tax. The vote to approve the loan was unanimous.
The initial deposit was used for the renovation of school buildings, the purchase of equipment, the development of programs and the training of school staff.
• Borrow up to $10 million in tax advance notice through the South Carolina Association of Governmental Organizations (SCAGO) tax advance notice program.
The loan allows the district to operate in the short term before property taxes start coming in during the months of November, December and January.
The SCAGO program allows districts to borrow money at a low interest rate.
In another area, trustees approved contractors and design firms for the $190 million bond referendum the district will present to county voters in November. The loan will be used to upgrade facilities across the district. School officials say a tax increase will not be needed for the loan plan.
The approved projects and contractors were:
• MB Kahn will serve as construction manager for a new $110 million Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School. LS3P would serve as the design professional for the project.
• Thompson Turner will act as construction manager for the construction of a 900-student, $45 million elementary school on the current site of Holly Hill Elementary School. LS3P would serve as the design professional for the project.
• Contract Construction would serve as the construction manager for the construction of classroom wings at Lake Marion High School and William J. Clark Middle School for $20 million. LS3P would do the design work for the additions.
• Contract Construction would serve as the construction manager to upgrade the district’s sports, arts and playgrounds as well as demolition work. LS3P would serve as design professional if needed. The cost of the project is $15 million.
• Trustees voted unanimously to sign an agreement to pursue the transfer of the High School for Health Professions charter school from the school district to the Limestone Charter Association.
The agreement includes the stipulation that approximately $2.1 million in unused federal emergency relief funds for elementary and secondary schools will be transferred to the association by July 31, 2022.
• Trustees unanimously approved several program applications that support the delivery of curriculum, instruction, and assessments for use in the district for the 2022-23 school year.
The programs will help students who need additional teaching tools to help them succeed.
• Four eighth graders from William J. Clark Middle School were honored as South Carolina Junior Scholars. They are Ariel Bryan, Kaitlyn Hyman, Nishka Patel and Giovanni Medina Diaz.
The SC Junior Scholar program recognizes eighth-graders who have scored 550 or higher on the evidence-based reading and writing subtests of the SAT/National Merit Scholarship (PSAT/NMSQT) Preliminary Qualifying Test and 530 or higher on the PSAT math subtest. /NMSQT.
Students also have summer opportunities in conjunction with participating South Carolina colleges and universities and the Governor’s School for Science and Math.
• The district recognized a dozen students for receiving the Seal of Biliteracy Award from the South Carolina Department of Education.
The award is given in recognition of students who have studied and mastered two or more languages before graduating from high school. This is the second year that the OCSD has awarded students for this award.
The students and awards received were:
– Silver: Edisto High School students Kimberly Alas, John Sanchez Garcia, Esmeralda Velasquez, Juan Magana Salgado; Gian Carlo Vallejo and Roberto Cruz, students of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School; and Lake Marion High School student Jackeline Serrao.
– Bronze: Edisto students Alexandra Uriostegui and David Austin Harrell; OW student Marlene Nerio and LMHS students Axell Carrillo and Ramses Rodriguez Osorio.
• A District Leadership Retreat will be held August 1-22 at Lake Marion High School from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Teacher Professional Development will be held August 8-12.
• School trustees unanimously approved the school board meeting schedule for 2022-2023. The council will meet on the second Tuesday of each month with the exception of November (due to Election Day) and April due to Spring Break.
• The school council will not meet in July. The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9 at the district headquarters at 102 Founders Court. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.