District 5 Delays Land-Purchase Discussion

February 11, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveKim Murphy
Citizen Reporter

Earlier this week the Lexington-Richland District 5 school board discussed a contractual matter related to property in executive session – the portion of the meeting closed to the public, according to their meeting agenda – but declined to do so during open session.

No vote was taken during the Feb. 8 board meeting regarding acquisition of property for new school sites, although financial offers by administration representatives have been made to property owners in the undeveloped area of northwest Richland County, as The Nerve reported earlier this week.

Sources say that offers have been made on two tracts of land, both along Broad River Road, and a vote could be taken as soon as the next board meeting, on Feb. 22.

However, there is a problem in that the board has never voted to authorize the district administration to “negotiate” or “make offers” with taxpayer money, as required by the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.

The school sites are located in the most rural part of the district and some wonder if their placement is to aid residential developers by creating a public need for water and sewer lines … and a free sales tool.

The largest tract, 81 acres, is supposedly being pursued as an elementary school site and is situated in an area that is very sparsely populated and has few young children.

With already declining enrollment in District 5, there is concern is that a new elementary school will draw people away from existing community schools.

The second parcel is a 10-acre tract in the same rural northwest Richland County area and sits in the middle of several parcels District 5 began accumulating for a high school, middle school, and CATE center.

Kim Murphy and her family live in Chapin. She serves on the State Workforce Investment Act Board and the Richland County Appearance Commission.