History of the 2019 Bond Referendum
In November 2019, Beaufort County voters overwhelmingly approved a $344 million school bond referendum aimed at improving school safety, renovating facilities and adding classroom space to address enrollment growth.
Beaufort County voters approved two separate ballot initiatives:
$290 million in safety and security upgrades at all district schools; technology infrastructure upgrades at schools district-wide; additions at River Ridge Academy and May River High; a replacement building for Robert Smalls International Academy; and renovations at three schools (Beaufort Elementary, Hilton Head Island Middle and Battery Creek High).
$54 million in Career and Technology Education expansions at Battery Creek and May River high schools; design work for renovations at Hilton Head Island High; improvements to athletic facilities at district middle and high schools; and playground improvements at early childhood centers, elementary and PreK-8 schools.
All of the projects were included in a comprehensive list of facilities needs identified earlier this year by an independent committee of county residents. Members of the Community Project Review Committee visited 26 schools in Beaufort and other districts and received presentations from outside experts before producing the district-wide projects list. CPRC members also received presentations from a safety and security consulting firm, a demographer, four architectural consultants, the Town of Bluffton, a playground equipment vendor, a furniture vendor and district staff.
After the CPRC identified $629 million in district-wide facilities needs, the Beaufort County Board of Education specified $344 million in projects for voters to consider in today’s referendum.
The first referendum projects, already under construction, are additions at River Ridge Academy and May River High School. Additional projects will get under way during summer 2020.
An independent Citizen-Led Oversight Committee (CLOC) will monitor the expenditures of all referendum-related funds and make quarterly reports to the Board of Education and the public.