OCSD borrowing $18.4 million; district says taxes won’t increase | local

Orangeburg County School District plans to borrow a total of $18.4 million to pay for capital projects, refund a 16-year old bond and provide immediate cash while it awaits property tax revenue.

District officials say the borrowing plan will not increase taxes.

“The borrowing plan is intended to keep 42 mills,” district financial bond counsel Frannie Heizer told trustees during their monthly board meeting Tuesday.

“There is no millage increase anticipated with any of this debt,” she said.

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Trustees approved the following bond resolutions:

• Borrowing $4.1 million in a general obligation bond for capital projects to be paid out over a year.

Trustees Idella Carson and Dr. William O’Quinn were opposed to this bond issue.

Orangeburg County School District budget includes teacher raises;  district not planning on tax increase

• Borrowing $4.3 million to refund a Qualified Zone Academy Bond initially issued by the former Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 in 2006. The bond at the time was a 0% interest bond. The bond is coming due and in order to have the funds to repay the debt, the district needed to issue a refunding bond.

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The bond will be repaid by March using property tax dollars. The vote to approve the borrowing was unanimous.

The initial bond was used for renovating school buildings, purchasing equipment, developing curricula and training school personnel.

• Borrowing up to $10 million in a Tax Anticipation Note through the South Carolina Association of Governmental Organizations (SCAGO) Tax Anticipation Notice program.

The borrowing 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 matter, trustees approved contractors and design companies for the $190 million bond referendum the district will bring before county voters in November. The borrowing will go toward districtwide facilities upgrades. School officials say a tax increase will not be required for the borrowing plan.

The projects and contractors approved were:

• MB Kahn will serve as the construction manager for a new, $110 million Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School. LS3P would serve as the project’s design professional.

• Thompson Turner will serve as the construction manager for the construction of a 900-student, $45 million elementary school at the existing Holly Hill Elementary School site. LS3P would serve as the project’s design professional.

• 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 athletics, arts spaces and playgrounds as well as demolition work. LS3P would serve as the design professional if needed. The project cost is $15 million.

• Trustees voted unanimously to sign an agreement to continue 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 about $2.1 million in unused federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds will be transferred to the association by July 31, 2022.

• Trustees unanimously approved several program applications that support the delivery of curriculums, instruction and assessments to be used in the district for the 2022-2023 school year.

The programs will help students who need supplemental instruction tools to help them succeed.

• Four eighth-grade students at 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-grade students who scored 550 or higher on the evidence-based reading and writing subtests of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and 530 or higher on the math subtest of the PSAT /NMSQT.

The students also have summer opportunities in collaboration with participating South Carolina colleges, universities and the Governor’s School for Science and Math.

• The district recognized a dozen students for receiving The South Carolina Department of Education’s Seal of Biliteracy award.

The award is given in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages ​​by high school graduation. It is the second year the OCSD has recognized students for the award.

The students and awards received were:

– Silver: Edisto High School students Kimberly Alas, John Sanchez Garcia, Esmeralda Velasquez, Juan Magana Salgado; Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School students Gian Carlo Vallejo and Roberto Cruz; 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.

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• A leadership retreat for the district will be held Aug. 1 and 2 2 at Lake Marion High School from 8 am to 4:30 pm Professional development for teachers will be held Aug. 8-12.

• Trustees unanimously approved the school board meeting calendar for 2022-2023. The board will meet the second Tuesday of every month with the exception of November (due to Election Day) and April due to spring break.

• The school board will not meet in July. The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 9 at district headquarters at 102 Founders Court. The meeting will begin at 6:30 pm

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