Preview of Sunday column: District 5


This is both a follow-up on this Tuesday post, and a preview of tomorrow’s column. Here we have members of the unanimous Lexington/Richland District 5 school board talking about what’s different about this referendum proposal, and why they think the community Irmo/Chapin community will support it.

14 thoughts on “Preview of Sunday column: District 5

  1. Doug Ross

    Mr. White tries to make the argument that since property taxes were reduced by the state taking over funding of the schools, people should accept a new bond referendum. What he neglects to mention is that we are ALL paying 1% more in sales tax to make up that difference. And we won’t see a reduced property tax bill until NEXT year.
    And the real estate agent who claims houses on the lake are appreciating doesn’t make a logical case — if the schools are overcrowded now and in desperate need of hundreds of millions of dollars of funding, then why are the houses appreciating in that environment? His argument makes no sense.
    A bind referendum is a license for developers to continue their greedy practices. The only way a bond referendum should be passed is if it is tied to strict future limits on growth AND implementing impact fees. Otherwise, there will be another bond referendum in five years. The taxpayers are always the ones who are called on to bail out the overzealous developers.

  2. Randy E

    Maybe John Edwards can invest that $500K he made from the company foreclosing on SC homes back into the state via Lex 5. After all, his main interest in this company was “to learn about finance”.
    Of course, half a mil buys alot of haircuts…well more for some than others.

  3. Ready to Hurl

    Talking about “not making sense.”
    Doug Ross types: “…if the schools are overcrowded now and in desperate need of hundreds of millions of dollars of funding, then why are the houses appreciating in that environment?”
    Yes, the schools are crowded. That’s why there are 12 trailers in the Irmo HS student parking lot. That’s why there are more than that behind Chapin HS. And, there are portables at almost every school from elementary through middle, also.
    People who can afford to buy lake lots for half a million dollars probably aren’t too worried about the public schools.
    The board can’t (and shouldn’t) wait until there is an unbearable crisis in the district to start building schools. It takes about four years to build a high school, for instance.
    2010 is the next chance for a referendum. Opening the doors of the new high school in 2014 instead of 2012 would mean either boosting average class size– which reduces the quality of education– or buying more trailers at $70,000 each.
    How exactly would the school board effect “strict future limits on growth AND implementing impact fees?”
    Only the state legislature can make those changes. The school board, OTOH, is charged with managing the education of the students. Packing them into trailers like sardines is dangerous and detrimental to their education.
    BTW, Doug, who exactly do you think are buying the houses that the developers are building? Are you overlooking the fact that THEY will be District Five taxpayers, also?
    Since you’re interested in the welfare of District Five taxpayers, maybe you should have attended some of the meeting that the administration has held to explain the financing. I’m sure that the district will be happy to give you some explanatory materials as a favor to Richland Two.

  4. Doug Ross

    It was the school board member/real estate agent in the video who talked about lake real estate (including his own) appreciating. The appreciation has nothing to do with the quality of schools… it has to do with the limited supply of lake property.
    I wonder how sales of pre-existing homes in older neighbordhoods are going? I can make a reasonable guess that due to all the excessive growth, houses in that category are probably lagging way behind. It’s a pretty simple supply/demand equation — as builders are allowed to increase supply of new houses, demand for existing homes will drop. In order to keep up the demand for the new houses, those in the existing homes must be hit with higher taxes to pay for the infrastructure to support the new homes. Current residents get screwed. The only way to stop it is to stop building. And the only way to stop building is to stop bailing out the developers.
    School boards should do what we all do when faced with economic difficulties — make choices. The easiest choice is to ask for everybody else to pay for the mistakes that have been made. How about looking at the budgets for technology, overhead administration? How about increasing class sizes back to what we all grew up with and didn’t seem to suffer from? Let’s see them show some fiscal responsibility before strong arming the residents of Lexington County into forking over more money.
    It’s not for the children. It’s for the developers.

  5. Ready to Hurl

    …as builders are allowed to increase supply of new houses, demand for existing homes will drop.

    You’re wrong. You’re wrong because you’ve made some incorrect and simple-minded assumptions. That’s par for the libertarian approach, though.
    Ironically, by your theory, the government should restrict the building of new cars. After all, new cars devalue the older models and put more strain on the infrastructure.
    We don’t live in the 1940’s and 50’s. We can’t pretend the schools exist in a time warp. For instance, instead of pushing handicapped kids off into institutions for life, we’ve decided to educate them to the best of their ability. This takes more space, more staff/teachers and more MONEY.
    In your libertarian world-view, I guess that the families with special needs kids just punch their Tuff Shite cards or beg from luckier parents like yourself.
    Take off your rose colored glasses. They “way things used to be” wasn’t necessarily so great. Maybe kids behaved better when the principal, coach or teacher could beat them. Would you mind if I beat your kid’s buttocks black and blue with paddle which I’d drilled holes in for maximum pain?
    No one is “strong arming” District Five taxpayers. It’s a referendum– not a decree.
    Get real and stop trying to victimize the school system and the children. Work to control growth via governmental mechanisms that are meant for that purpose.

  6. Ready to Hurl

    Oh, yes– I agree that lake property owes much of its appreciation to the growing demand and limited availability.
    However, the older neighborhoods owe their continuing attractiveness in large part to the school district’s reputation for quality. Thirty-year-old homes will plummet in value if District Five follows Doug’s suggestions.
    With the skyrocketing new-home construction costs of recent years older homes offer a better value for younger families looking for starter homes with space.
    Talk about screwing the older AND struggling younger District Five taxpayers! The long term taxpayers have supported the district for years. Doug’s plan would drastically reduce the demand for all non-lake homes in District Five. The older homeowners would lose much of their equity just when they need it most.

  7. Doug Ross

    Do you have any facts to back your claim that “With the skyrocketing new-home construction costs of recent years older homes offer a better value for younger families looking for starter homes with space.”?
    Construction costs are not skyrocketing. If they were, you’d see a decrease in building.
    Why not talk to some realtors and ask them how the 20 year old homes are selling? People are buying up the new homes at the peril of current homeowners trying to sell.
    I need only look in my own neighborhood to see the opposite. Fifty new homes are being added to a Phase IV extension of our neighborhood. Every home that is under construction has a sold sign in front of it. Meanwhile, existing homes (only 5-10 years old) on the next street are sitting unsold after three months.
    I followed the same tactic. We looked at older homes in Spring Valley. Every one of them needed 10-20K of additional work. We bought a new house for the same money in Blythewood. Bigger lot, less traffic (for now), and it was new. There is a risk associated with buying older homes – roofs, HVAC, etc. All things you don’t have to worry about with a new home.

  8. Doug Ross

    >Ironically, by your theory, the government
    >should restrict the building of new cars.
    >After all, new cars devalue the older models
    >and put more strain on the infrastructure.
    If you don’t know the difference between a car (expense) and a house (investment), I can’t help you. You could really use some basic education in economics. The concept of supply and demand seems to be lost on you.
    I never attended a public school where teachers could hit students. I don’t know how many kids you have, but I’ve got three teenagers who have all gone through public schools. Class size had no impact on discipline – good teachers can control larger classes, ineffective teachers can’t control 10 students.
    You have yet to address the question of where you expect to find the teachers to staff all the schools the bond referendum will create. Where are they coming from? Ask some principals what it’s like these days to find qualified excellent teachers. Many of the good ones coming out of college these days quit after a year or two after seeing how the real world of public education works. Testing, uncontrollable kids, excessive oversight by educrats – it’s a thankless job.

  9. The BIG VP

    The bond referendum is fiscally irresponsible. The district has already proven that they cannot control costs (research Oak Pointe Elem. – $20M for a $14M project, and it’s still not finished).
    The district, and Dr. AndersEn in particular, has also proven that they cannot tell the truth. The “land deal” for the proposed new school, conveniently located by a new Mungo subdivision, was questioned at a recent “informational meeting”. When asked about the status of this “land deal”, Dr. AndersEn replied “I don’t know”. In fact, the land was bought and the transaction closed weeks before. Either Dr. AndersEn lied about it or he has no idea what is happening in his district. Either conclusion is unsatisfactory.
    The district needs to learn to live on a budget, like us common folk do. We can’t just generate money out of thin air, they shouldn’t be allowed to.
    The BIG VP

  10. wake up

    Exactly what is your agenda? Is it really all for the children with you or is there some hidden benefit for you as well. One has to wonder why you are so aggressive towards all opponents of the bond referendum. You have accused those who oppose as being secretive in thier motives. Perhaps they are not as eloquent and well versed as you in their protests, afterall some of us are from “Mayberry” as you put it. Speaking of which, how dare you get on your soap box and label those of us who moved here with such racial slurs. Yes, my family moved here from Northeast Columbia too. We are native South Carolinians from generations of native South Carolinians who happen to prefer and enjoy the rural lifestyles from which we were raised. This is not a black and white issue it is a quality of life issue. Of course we chose Chapin for the schools over the lesser failing school districts but that alone was not the deciding factor. We already were in a top school district why would we choose less? We were in N.E. columbia long before the Summit was ever built and refused to sign petitions to stop new grocery stores that wanted to build near us. That sounded good to me. If only we knew that was just the tip of the ice berg. Suddenly new devolopments came and along with that not one but several school bond referendums all promising more improvements for our children. We also voted “yes” at the first of these. The only thing we saw were conditions that worsened with each new school and each new subdivision. Along with each new school came a host of other problems that affected the quality of life. It was not the schools but the unbridled developers who preyed on the taxpaying citizens who supported the schools. It really does go hand in hand. I am not for stopping growth and closing the door to others as you put it, but I am for limitations on growth. I would gladly prefer to see our educators looking for other ways to improve our schools without opening the flood gates. Your right we should not wait for a crisis but we should not expedite one either. There is way too much undeveloped land out here to ignore the possibilities. I would argue that the value of older homes is still relatively up in Chapin. It is not just because of the school district it also has largely to due with the limited availability of new homes and the value of land. Again this is another example of supply and demand. You cannot seperate the schools as operating on their own anymore in this day and age. I sure would like to know more about that hushed land deal our district made, hmmm, and gosh how’d Mungo get so lucky to own all that land nearby. I’m not proposing we live in a vacume here, let’s learn from others mistakes and move forward. It is hard to believe that an alternative solution could not be found in the four years that it would take to build another school. Unless we spend them once again trying to come up with another way to push the bond referendum that was already rejected to begin with. $70,000.00 trailers, rapid growth, detrimental and dangerous conditions, you haven’t a clue!

  11. Tucker Armstrong

    The bond referendum requested is excessive. AndersEn’s continued emphasis on decreased property taxes ignores the fact that we are paying more in sales taxes. It also ignores the fact that even with the decrease, property taxes for many homeowners have more than doubled in the last seven years. School District 5 is growing, with growth comes additional tax revenues, why don’t the additional tax revenues generated from this growth adequately support the cost of new schools? The reasons are obvious. The administration is not properly using or adequately controlling the money that they do have. Fiscal responsibility is needed, not gigantic bond referendums.

  12. Don Carlson

    The Great Portable Hoax.
    Why? District 5 knew that in order to promote their irresponsible $256.5 million bond referendum, they had to create the ILLISION of major growth. This is what they did for 07/08 (and you paid for).
    Irmo High lost 55 students and added 6 portables.
    Dutch Fork Middle lost 15 students and added 1 portable.
    Seven Oaks El. lost 56 students and added 5 portable.
    Leaphart El. lost 49 students and added 6 portables.
    Lake Murray El.gained 4 students and added 2 portable.
    Therefore, 20 portables can’t be justified. This has resulted in the following wasted expenditures for 07/08.
    20 unneeded Portables = $1,018,870
    20 unneeded Teachers hired = $850,000
    Total waste = $1,868,870
    Please note that our elementary schools are under their core capacity by 2,789 students. So why don’t we use the school capacity that we have or why did we build the schools with that capacity and not use it? By the way, District 5’s own data shows that total student enrollment was up by only 24 students, compared to last year.

  13. jim lewis

    How can one argue with such logic and facts as presented in earlier postings.
    Rather than go that route i would suggest a little fanasty.
    District Five taxpayers are being asked to fund a $256,000,000 remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
    The cast:
    doc – robert
    dopey – ellen
    sleepy – carol
    grumpy – jerry
    happy – roberta
    bashful – ed
    sneezy – paula
    the prince – dr. a
    As for the role of Snow White and/or the Witch, that would be us – taxpayer.
    If we vote yes, we will be Snow White to the dwarfs and their prince. Hugs and kisses for all.
    If we vote no, we will be the Wicked Witch. Mean, hateful to young and old alike.
    Personally, I’m going down to my shed and have a few ying lings and talk to my dogs.
    Have a great day
    jim lewis


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *