Proposed millage increase to renovate Byrnes High causes stir - FOX Carolina 21

Proposed millage increase to renovate Byrnes High causes controversy

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Byrnes High School's current football stadium, proposed to be rebuilt. (FOX Carolina) Byrnes High School's current football stadium, proposed to be rebuilt. (FOX Carolina)
DUNCAN, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Students and administrators at Byrnes High School are ready for renovations and a new football stadium, but some taxpayers said they do not want to foot the bill.

"There's cracks all over the place. There's molding in the hallways," said Byrnes High School senior Navi Kaur. "There's not enough space for the amount of students we have at this school."

Administrators at the school said hallway crowding and an open campus cause major safety concerns.

A proposal to increase the millage rate by 13.4 mills in Spartanburg School District 5 would raise the $71 million needed, school district officials said.

County residents, however, said they oppose a property tax increase.

Under the proposed millage increase, $58 million would go toward renovations at the 59-year-old high school, and the remaining $13 million would go toward building a new football stadium.

"I don't think a new stadium is what we need," said Wellford resident Jim McMillan, who is leading the charge to stop voters from saying 'Yes' to more taxes.

The millage increase would bring taxes on a $100,000 home up by $53.60, officials said.

Principal Jeff Rogers pointed out cracked ceilings, roof leaks and hallways he said are too narrow to handle the crowds at the school.

Rogers also mentioned building an entirely new school may cost double what the proposed budget is for renovations.

"We would like to see these things updated for the children, too," said McMillan. "But we know there's a better way than spending. You can't just throw $71 million at every problem that comes along."

"Bottom line is, we can't afford a tax increase," said citizen L.B. Watson, who said his 'Vote No' sign was vandalized last week.

For more information on the effort opposing the tax increase, click here.

For information on the referendum to increase the millage rate within the district, click here.

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