Will opposition overshadow voter's choice on schools?

By Lia

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- A solution to fixing overcrowded schools in Berkeley County could be answered in Tuesday's election.

"If they vote yes, then we will have the opportunity to build five new schools and renovate another 29 schools," Superintendent Dr. Rodney Thompson said.

Thompson said Monday the need for the $198 million referendum to pass is greater than ever.

"Just this past year we've grown by 900 students. That's a school in itself," said Thompson.

Not everyone is on board with checking 'yes' on the proposal, including Daniel Island attorney Josh Whitley.

"It's too large and they've misstated too many facts for us to trust them with $350 million," he said.

Whitley heads up Berkeley Citizens for Sustainable Education. He says a 23-year loan with interest will cost the kids in the long run.

"The very children they say it's for, will incur this debt," said Whitley.

If passed, homeowners and small business owners would most likely see a tax increase.

Homeowners would pay an additional $40 a year for a $100,000 home. Thompson hopes that people who go out to vote will see it as money well spent.

"I understand that there are folks out there that oppose the situation and they have agendas on reason why. I respect that. I just hope voters will look at the issues and make decisions on what they feel is the best interest for children in Berkeley County," Thompson said.

Whitely not only opposes the referendum, but says the district violated state ethic laws. He says he plans to file a formal complaint against the district.

He believes employees worked on the 'Yes 4 Schools' campaign during district time and with district resources.

Thompson calls Whitley's accusation an effort to distract voters from the real needs.