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School board seeks to cancel referendum

The Abbeville County School District Board of Trustees voted last week to cancel the April 28 referendum on funding a consolidated high school and other projects.

The construction package also included transforming the current Dixie High School into a middle school, and renovating John C. Calhoun Elementary School.

The board passed at its March 24 meeting the following motion:

“The Board has determined that because of the current uncertainty resulting from the health care and economic crises, it is not in the best interests of the Abbeville County School District or the community to proceed with the referendum previously ordered pursuant to the Resolution adopted by the Board on February 11, 2020. Therefore, the Board resolves as follows: (1) the April 28, 2020 referendum ordered by the District is cancelled; (2) The Resolution adopted by the Board on February 11, 2020, ordering the referendum is repealed in its entirety; and (3) the Superintendent is hereby authorized to take any and all actions necessary to cause the cancellation of the referendum.”

The school board had passed the resolution on Feb. 11, weeks before South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued a directive putting elections on hold, given the threat of the coronavirus.

“All elections through the end of April are postponed until further notice,” said Abbeville County voter registration and elections director Kim London recently.

School board trustee Brad Evans said Wednesday that it was a matter of timing. Given the economic uncertainty produced by the coronavirus outbreak, the economic burden associated with the referendum would definitely not be a good thing.

Fowler will be working with the state to bring the cancellation of the referendum to fruition, the trustee indicated.

Evans said that the Abbeville County School District is not the only school district in the state wanting to cancel a referendum.

The coronavirus outbreak has produced a situation in which there are no clear procedural precedents to follow, Evans indicated.

“We’re in uncharted waters,” he said.

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