LAURINBURG — The attorney for the Scotland County school system said the financing plan for school consolidation does not need referendum.
Opponents of school consolidation — which includes building a new elementary school — say construction should be put to a public vote.
But Eva DuBussion, an attorney from Raleigh representing the schools, told the Scotland County school board that a referendum is unnecessary.
“In looking at the referendum question and what my research revealed is that while there is a provision in statues for a county to put a bond issue to a vote,”DuBrission said. “Scotland County is not proposing to do a bond issue.”
The attorney said that the county is able to pay for the new school through traditional financing and not a general obligation bond — a municipal bond backed by the credit and taxing power of the issuing jurisdiction rather than the revenue from a given project.
“Therefore, the referendum requirement does not apply,” DuBrission said. “In North Carolina, without some sort of requirement you can’t just put anything on the ballot.”
The new school, planned for a 30-acre plot of land located off Old John’s Road just south of the US-74 bypass, is expected to cost an estimated $25 million. The property for that school was purchased last month.
Improvements to Sycamore Lane come in at $6.85 million and the classroom additions and gym at Laurel Hill will cost about $5.99 million.
Laurinburg Mayor Matthew Block has argued that county voters should decide whether to continue fund the project, which also means the closing of I. Ellis Johnson and South Scotland Elementary schools closed.
“The citizens do not agree with these multi-million dollar building projects whether it be the $13 million City Hall or the $40 plus million school consolidation,” Block told county commissioners earlier this month.
The mayor started a petition drive to force a referendum vote.
In other business, the Key Player Award was presented to Lee Howell of Scotland Motors for the ongoing support of Scotland County Schools, including the donation of a free car for the past two school years.
The car was used as an incentive for Scotland High School students to get good grades and attendance. Students were able to earn tickets each nine weeks for the first three nine-week periods. These tickets went into a drawing for the car at the end of the school year. This year’s winner was sophomore, Jhamari Smith.
The board also recognized the SCS Transportation Department for their outstanding safety rating from the state. The department is ranked third in the region and sixth in the state
Members of the Transportation Department are – Julius Dockery, Eugene Oxendine, Patrick Hammonds, Miguel McLean, Terry Smith, James Sanders, John Kolb, Ryan Emmanuel, Jennifer Coffell, Tanisha Smith, Rodney Byers, and Gale McNeill.
The JROTC Color Guard members were also recognized for their service to the board for presenting the colors at the beginning of every meeting. Students recognized were: Kenyana McLean, Kevon Alford, Samuel Miles, William Dulin, Ziquilla Gilmore, DiAndre Benoit and Daehan Roofe