1% County School Facility Sales Tax on Ballot in Richland County

Mar 12, 2018

In one week Richland County voters must decide if they want to implement a 1% County Schools Facility Sales Tax.

The Richland Co High School opened its doors in 1952, 66 years ago, 66 is also the assessment score it received from BLDD architects` grading the schools physical needs and functionality.

Administrators are asking county residents to vote yes on March 20 in favor of adding a 1% sales tax to fund renovating the high school.

“We would anticipate the 1% sales tax to bring in $1.2 million dollars and our plans would be to use $1 million of that to service debt to do the renovation to the high school.”

"We feel like the $25 million dollars renovation is much more cost effective for our tax payers."- Larry Bussard Superintendent Richland Co Community Unit School District

Superintendent Larry Bussard says the estimate is $25 million dollars with $7 million of it going to building maintenance to keep it in compliance, which has to be done with or without the sales tax.

Bussard says they looked at building a new building, but that cost taxpayers between $60 and $80 million dollars.

“Are current building is very sound and again we feel like the $25 million dollars renovation is much more cost effective for our tax payers.”

The plans include replacing the 1400 seat auditorium with a smaller more useful 6 to 800-seat auditorium, an additional gymnasium, upgrading all classrooms with 21st century technology, accessibility for all students and addition safety and security measures.

Richland Co. High School
Credit Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

They say with these renovations the high school last the county another 70 years.

If the tax does pass administrators hope that down the road the sales tax could possibly be used to abate property tax in county.