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Board seeks bond referendum on Culpeper school renovation
Culpeper School Board asks for referendum on high school renovation

Date published: 5/24/2011


The voters are one step closer to making a Culpeper High School renovation decision.

The Culpeper County School Board voted unanimously last night to send a resolution to the Board of Supervisors asking that a $20 million bond referendum be placed on the November ballot.

"We need to ask," said Chairman George Dasher, who added that even if the referendum fails, the School Board will be in no worse shape.

Elizabeth Hutchins, who chairs the renovation committee that brought the issue forward, said that it might be possible to spread the renovation spending out over two years so that taxpayers weren't hit with one big tax-rate wallop.

She added that finance clerk Jeff Shomo had discovered that the county will be losing $227,000 in school debt service in 2012 and an additional $137,000 in 2013.

Both Hutchins and Leanne Malulani urged that the School Board work with the Board of Supervisors to come up with the most feasible bond plan. And everyone agreed that educating the public would be a key factor in getting the referendum passed.

Hutchins admitted that she was wary about placing a large bond referendum on the ballot in a struggling economy, but Malulani and Bob Houck said they thought tax dollars could be saved since contractors are looking for construction jobs.

"This seems like a good time to do this," Houck said. "We need to give the voters the opportunity [to speak]."

The supervisors likely won't get a resolution until July. To get on the ballot, the petition must be brought before the Circuit Court 60 days before the November election.

In other action last night, the School Board, after 15 minutes of heated discussion, voted 5-2 to declare board member Anne Luckinbill as an alternate for the Career Partners Board.

Hutchins and Malulani questioned the method used to make the midyear appointment, while Rusty Jenkins called the debate merely a personality issue.

"This is not so much about how we're doing it, but because of who we're naming," Jenkins said. "I believe this comes from bad feelings between board members. I thought we had outgrown that."

Donnie Johnston:
Email: djohnston@freelancestar.com