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Board approves November bond referendum with focus on modernization of facilities, growth, and safety

Tuesday, June 14, 2023

BEAUFORT – The Beaufort County Board of Education voted to hold a county-wide bond referendum in November aimed at improving school safety, rebuilding or replacing inadequate facilities, population growth, and adding Career and Technical Education space to address academic needs.

Members of the Community Project Review Committee (CPRC 2.0) devoted more than 900 hours – visiting nine schools and receiving presentations from outside experts – before producing the prioritized district-wide projects list that was sent to Superintendent Frank Rodriguez.

The Nov. 7 referendum will ask county residents to vote on one question:

  • The question will seek voter approval for $439 million in school safety and security enhancements; a rebuild of Hilton Head Island High School; replacement of Lady’s Island Middle School, a new Pre-K-5 elementary school in Bluffton, a gymnasium for Riverview Charter School, career and technical education renovations and additions, a technology warehouse imaging center, HVAC replacements, furniture, parking lots/drives/sidewalks, a new early childhood center, and a kitchen at Right Choices.

All of the projects are included in a comprehensive list of $980 million in facilities needs identified earlier this year by an independent committee of county residents. Members of the Community Project Review Committee (CPRC 2.0) devoted more than 900 hours – visiting nine schools and receiving presentations from outside experts – before producing the prioritized district-wide projects list that was sent to Superintendent Frank Rodriguez. CPRC 2.0 members received information about early childhood, technology, career and technical education, energy management, Riverview Charter School, and Bluffton growth. They also reviewed information about projects not included in the 2019 referendum and the facility condition assessment for multiple buildings in BCSD.

Rodriguez went to the Board of Education on April 21 and recommended a November referendum that would fund a portion of the CPRC’s overall projects list. 


Beaufort County voters overwhelmingly approved a $344 million school bond referendum in 2019. As a newly appointed superintendent, Rodriguez established a Citizen-Led Oversight Committee (CLOC), an independent group of volunteers, that monitors district referendum building projects, schedules, budgets, and expenditures. Quarterly reports from the CLOC are presented to the Beaufort County Board of Education. CLOC members include CPAs, urban planners, civil engineers, and project managers.

Rodriguez said growing school districts generally need a bond referendum every four to five years to accommodate population growth and preserve existing facilities. He noted that the proposed $439 million referendum would not only continue the work made possible by the voter approved 2019 referendum, but that it would not raise the millage for taxpayers.

Board members reviewed Rodriguez’s April 21 recommendations and heard a final presentation before voting to proceed with a referendum on Nov. 7.

Cost estimates for the referendum projects were developed by two private-sector cost estimating firms contracted by the school district.

Prior to the November vote, the district will hold information sessions and share educative information about the proposed referendum projects.

Official Ballot Question

Shall the Board of Education of the School District of Beaufort County, South Carolina (the “School District”) be empowered to issue, at one time or from time to time, general obligation bonds of the School District, in a principal amount of not exceeding $439,035,000, the proceeds of which shall be used to finance the costs (including architectural, engineering, legal and related fees) of the following:

  • Re-building and equipping Hilton Head Island High School including renovation, construction of additional space and demolition of a portion of existing facility;
  • Constructing and equipping a new replacement school for Lady’s Island Middle School on its current location including demolition of the existing facility;
  • Constructing and equipping a new PreK-5 elementary school in Bluffton;
  • Constructing and equipping a new early childhood center in Bluffton, including space for support services;
  • Constructing and equipping additional space at the Riverview Charter School including a new gymnasium;
  • Constructing and equipping Career and Technology Education Renovations and Addition
    • Beaufort High School – Renovations and Addition
    • Bluffton High School – Addition
    • May River High School – Renovations and Addition;
  • Constructing and equipping a Technology and Warehouse Imaging Center;
  • Constructing and equipping a kitchen to be used for the Right Choices Alternative Program and the District Educational Services Center;
  • Constructing, acquiring and installing HVAC equipment at multiple school facilities;
  • Acquiring and installing furniture at multiple school facilities;
  • Constructing improvements to parking lots/driveways/sidewalks at multiple school facilities; and
  • Constructing, acquiring, and installing additional safety and security enhancements at multiple school facilities?

If the voter wishes to vote in favor of the question, fill in the oval next to “In favor of the question/yes;” if the voter wishes to vote against the question, fill in the oval next to the words, “Opposed to the question/no.”

  • In favor of the question/yes
  • Opposed to the question/no