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We understand that Bond Referendums can be confusing and overwhelming. We hope to answer some of your questions below and most importantly, provide the community with factual information.

If you still have questions, please reach out to us at

Why am I being asked to vote in favor of a bond referendum?
According to South Carolina law, school districts must get voter approval to issue debt to build new schools or enhance facilities. This process is known as a bond referendum. This referendum is our chance to invest in the future of education and ensure that our schools have everything they need to continue providing a top-notch learning environment for our students.

Fort Mill School District has done everything it can to keep up with the growth, but eventually, more schools and critical improvements are needed. Per South Carolina law, the bonds approved through a referendum are the only way public schools are allowed to raise additional funds needed for new construction.
Why can't we just use the impact fees collected from new development?
The district currently receives about $5-6M per year in impact fees. While they help offset the costs of future growth, the need for action is now. Projections show Fort Mill School District will exceed capacity by 2028, but a closer look reveals a more pressing reality.

Two middle schools are currently in an enrollment freeze, affecting capacity at other schools. The district can currently accommodate just 190 pre-kindergarten students at its lab schools and 4k classes. And adding new technology means there is adequate equipment for the growing student population. Each year the number of schools approaching full capacity continues to rise.
Why can't we just use classroom trailers?
The introduction of classroom trailers is a consideration for the capacity issues in our schools. These trailers are allowed by law as a temporary measure and are not classified as 'capital improvements.' While this solution is aimed at addressing immediate challenges, it is essential to acknowledge their downsides.

Each trailer comes with a substantial cost of around $250,000, equivalent to the combined annual salaries of three teachers. This highlights their expensive and less efficient nature. As a community, it's crucial to delve into conversations about the long-term implications of these measures and collaboratively explore more sustainable solutions for our educational infrastructure.
What will this bond referendum do to my taxes?
York County property tax is calculated by multiplying the appraised value of your home by 4% and additionally the millage rate. The total millage in Fort Mill is currently 234 (.234%) with 74 mills (.074%) going to schools. The average millage in South Carolina is 325.

The new bond would add 15 mills to the school's share for a total of 89 mills (.089%). On a $400,000 home, the tax increase is estimated at $20/month or $240/year. See more about the tax implications here.
Why doesn't the district just factor these costs into their budget?
School districts create operational budgets to pay for recurring costs such as salaries, electricity, supplies, books, etc. In 2006, the passing of Act 388 exempted owner-occupied residences from paying school operations tax and replaced it with a funding source that has not kept pace with the residential growth in Fort Mill. The school board is limited in its ability to increase operational revenues, only having the power to increase the budget by 2-5% each year (based on a state formula). According to the law, operational funds can be used for capital expenses but because operational dollars are limited, they are needed to pay teachers and keep the lights on at schools.

Capital funds are used to pay for items that are generally used for more than a year (e.g. building schools, making improvements and replacing technology). Capital funds are generally paid for by issuing debt/bonds and paying it back over time through increased property taxes or impact fees. Regardless of payment, school districts must get voter approval to issue large bonds. According to state law, capital funds cannot be used to pay operational expenses.
What do you need from me?
Advocate for the school district and the referendum. Let us know if we can speak to your local community or group. Beyond the bond's allocated funds, it's crucial to ensure this is a sound investment for taxpayers. Fort Mill School District's track record for both quality and cost savings provides valuable insights:
  • Federal Accountability Rating “A”
  • All schools are Palmetto Gold
  • Fort Mill School District ranks in the top 2% of districts nationwide
  • Fort Mill School District’s Graduation rates are 95% compared to the nation at 85%
  • Fort Mill School District ranked best in the state in the Niche 2023 rankings
  • Fort Mill School District recognized as the 8th best employer in SC
  • Total 2023 Scholarships awarded: $44,113,832.

Help Fort Mill Schools continue to maintain a tradition of excellence by voting YES to the Bond Referendum on March 19. Find your polling location here.
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