Sumter County Eying Consolidated High School

It has been over two years since Sumter County voters rejected a measure that would have increased property taxes to build a consolidated new high school.

Now district officials are examining this issue again, but without extra cost to the taxpayers by using renewed bond money from previous years.

"We really would have to use this money for construction," said school board president, Johnny Patrick.

Patrick said the bond money that would be used for the $12 million project is earmarked and can only be used for construction type projects within the district. Because it is available, and given the concern about aging buildings, Patrick says it's the time to make the move.

"We're in a community that our tax resources are limited," said Patrick. "We don't have the funds to support, basically build a high school in York and then try to continue to maintain Livingston High School, as far as the physical facility, and four other schools in the community. So, at some point, I think we're going to need to bring those schools together."

District officials say the new plan would initially call for a scaled-back version of the previous consolidation proposal, with all work being done in phases.

Superintendent Dr. Fred Primm says the school would be built on the same site as the previous plan and the structure would be able to house 500 students. He says this would leave 9th and 10th graders to initially attend classes on the current campus of Livingston High until some additional class space could be added to the new campus.

Unlike with the bond referendum that failed, the school board would have the final say on this proposal. Newscenter 11 learned the board could consider a vote within the next two weeks. If approved, work on the new school could start by the first of March.

The first of a series of public meetings is set for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at
the Sumter County Courthouse in Livingston to hear what residents have to say.

Another will be held Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. at Sumter County High School in York. A third is scheduled for Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. at Livingston High School.

Do you think Sumter County should consolidate its high schools?

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