Letter: R2 Uses Smoke & Mirrors

I attended a presentation a few weeks ago to learn more about the proposed bond referendum for Richland Two. It is my understanding that Richland Two is requesting two separate votes for a total of $468 million dollars, calling it a referendum for mostly security items. I want safe schools like everyone in South Carolina. I was disappointed in the presentation at Doko Manor as it left many of our questions unanswered on specifics.  The panel from the District did not have sufficient answers for several of the questions, and seemed upset that the taxpayers in the audience were questioning them. There is a video tape of this event online on The Voice’s Facebook page. I went to another event at Forest Lake Presbyterian, hoping that more questions could be answered. I became more confused when we were shown children working in the halls at Forest Lake Middle School. Why are they using the halls when that school has larger capacity than enrollment? Enrollment 549 with capacity 623. I was told they were not sure of exact enrollment. I had taken those numbers from District 2 web site the very day of the meeting. I think the presentation are smoke and mirrors! They are assuming the voters won’t be informed.

When we went out to our car at the end of that meeting at Doko Manor, we had a flier on our windshield. I think this made several good points, highlighting that the District is asking for millions of dollars for unnecessary items like Black Box theaters, collaboration spaces, natural light, Astroturf, and other items that certainly are not for security. My husband and I are retired veterans. If you are going to raise our taxes that much, then you need to be able to tell me why and give a good reason. I just found out that the Bond from 2008 will not be paid off until 2037!

I am sorry, my husband and I cannot support this Bond. We will vote NO on both Question 1 and Question 2. We need the district to go back to the drawing board and bring us a Bond that will make our schools safe not add fluff!

Hilda Barnwell

Columbia, SC

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