School board approves lease for new elementary school

By: By Amber Hatten-Staley - Staff reporter

LAURINBURG — The financing package for the county’s new elementary school will appear before the Local Government Commission in two weeks.

The Scotland County Board of Education approved a resolution earlier this week to give the land on Old John’s Road to the county and in turn the county will lease the property back to the school system.

Once the balance of the new school has been paid off, ownership will return to the school district.

Normally approvals come during the board’s regular monthly meetings, but the Local Government Commission will meet prior to the school board’s next week.

In order to move ahead with Phase III of consolidation, the board motioned to vote on the resolution on Monday during Committee of the Whole. Board member Wayne Cromartie called for the motion and Herman Tyson seconded. Chair Summer Woodside called for a vote and all five members in attendance voted in favor of the resolution.

The county is financing the project using limited obligation bonds, which require a deed of trust, meaning the school board puts the land off Old John’s Road up as collateral. The county would take possession of the land, since they would be the issuer of the bond, and lease it back to the district for the term of the financing, in this case 20 years. Once the bond is paid off, possession of the new elementary school would return to the school district.

When doing a deed of trust a public hearing is required, which the county commissioners held earlier this month. Following the public hearing, the commissioners passed a resolution which set the parameters for the financing including a $25 million not to exceed borrowing amount and the interest rate.

The school system and the county entered into an identical agreement last year to finance the additions to Sycamore Lane Elementary School. The county is also doing a one-year lease on Laurel Hill during the construction period. Laurel Hill was transferred to the county for the sales tax refunds, so the county could still claim those refunds to reduce the cost of construction.

Scotland County’s financing package for the $22 million new school will appear in front of the full LGC in Raleigh on Aug. 7 for the commissions regular monthly meeting. The school board and county commissioners have agreed to send representatives to the meeting.

When the financing for city hall and Phase II of consolidation went before the LGC last year, those for and against the project were permitted to speak but generally the public does not address the commission.

Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]

By Amber Hatten-Staley

Staff reporter