Tough crowd out here in Lexington/Richland District Five.

For the second time, our community rejected a bond referendum put forth by our School Board (the Board voted unanimously to support the referendum this year, while in the past the board was split). I had actually thought the referendum may pass this year – especially when the overwhelming majority of homeowners had seen (or will see this week) huge reductions on their property tax bills.

Asking $40 from taxpayers per $100,000 home was much, much less than the savings we in the SC Legislature provided in the Property Tax Relief Act.

Obviously with a 56% to 44% vote, the community is pretty split and I hope we don’t continue our divisive ways of the past.

I have to ask: if it didn’t pass this year, will one EVER pass?

I’m also wondering about School Board races next year in 2008. Will current School Board members (whose terms expire next year) offer their service again or do they feel unappreciated? Will there be another referendum next year and what impact could that have on any potential board races?

In my opinion several factors contributed to yesterday’s outcome:

1. “No” – generally, most people do not like “tax increases”.

2. “Confusion” – assuming the first item above, one must overwhelmingly convince people to vote yes for a “tax increase”. If there’s any confusion (and obviously during this campaign there was) the undecided folks will default to voting “no”.

3. “Growth” v. “No Growth” – this theme could be seen last year during the Richland County Council Race and I think it crept up again this year. When any issue gets painted as “developers and realtors” pushing it – it’s gonna lose here in Lexington/Richland School District Five.

Regardless how you voted, I’m glad to see more voters turn out and have their voice heard.