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Board of education votes to put $100 million bond referendum on March 24 ballot
Dr, Randy Shearouse
Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse speaks at The Local on Laurel on Dec. 11. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD —  During its Dec. 11 meeting, the Effingham County Board of Education took a step toward obtaining a funding source for school buildings it needs in the near future.

The board unanimously approved a resolution to place a bond referendum on the March 24, 2020, ballot. 

“The amount is $100 million, which I know is a lot of money. There is no doubt about it,” Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse said. 

At the Legislative Eggs and Issues Breakfast earlier in the day at The Local on Laurel, Shearouse said, “We’ve done a study and it looks like we need a new elementary school in about three years and a new middle school in about five years.”

Bonds are used by companies, municipalities, states and sovereign governments to finance projects and operations. A bond is a fixed income instrument that represents a loan made by an investor to a borrower.

“It will be paid back with ESPLOST funds and general millage,” Shearouse said. “We know we have a lot of great needs in our school system as far as a new elementary school, a new middle school, classroom additions, a performing arts center, traffic improvement areas, moving the athletic fields at Ebenezer Middle School to the back of that property to make more room for traffic to enter that facility, land purchases and then, of course, we have all the other items we buy through the ESPLOST like buses, text books, technology and everything else — band instruments. 

“That $100 million is covering a lot of that.”

Shearouse presented the board with two options. One required paying off the bond in 25 years. The other called for a 20-year payoff.

“My recommendation is going to be to extend it out for 25 years because that is a payment we can afford to make,” he said.

Shearouse said the bond can be paid off in 10 years without a penalty.

The board accepted Shearouse’s recommendation.