On November 8, 2022, Union County voters will have the opportunity to vote on two bond referendums in support of education. One is the $134.4 million bond for Union County Public Schools and the other is the $32.7 million bond for South Piedmont Community College. This article is the first of a two-part series to provide information about the referendums and the Union County Chamber’s position on both.
UCPS Bond Referendum
Union County is placing a $134,405,000 bond referendum on the November 8 ballot to fund a major capital expense project for Union County Public Schools (UCPS) to replace two of our community’s oldest schools, East Elementary School and Forest Hills High School. This is one of the first bond referendums in recent history put forth for UCPS not in response to growth, but rather to replace old facilities.
East Elementary School
East Elementary School is a 70-year-old one-story facility located within the City of Monroe. The plan is to build the new facility on the same property as the existing school, demolish the old school building, and relocate playgrounds and parking on the property. The new facility will be a two-story building and will include additional Pre-K classrooms, a flexible multi-purpose gym, expanded dining space, collaboration areas, and improved safety with more on-site parking. The new building will be more energy efficient and will have more innovative classroom spaces that align with academic program needs.
Forest Hills High School
Forest Hills High School is a 60-year-old building located in the eastern part of Union County. The new two-story facility will include a new auditorium, an expanded dining area, updated teacher workrooms, a modern media center with collaboration space, a new gym, arts and band spaces, and all instruction and school-day activities will be in one building.
The Union County Chamber’s 2022 Legislative Agenda includes three focus areas, including one related to support any initiatives that provide an adequately trained available workforce for all business and industries including future expansion in Union County. At the September 16, 2022 meeting of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, the Board unanimously voted to approve a resolution encouraging voters of Union County to vote “yes” for the $134.4 million bond referendum for Union County Public Schools. The Chamber believes this investment will increase equity across the school system, enhance the system’s Agrotechnology (AgTech) program which will prepare students for over 300 careers in agriculture, and advance the development of an adequately trained and available workforce in Union County.
Tax and Budget Implications
Another focus of the Chamber’s 2022 Legislative Agenda is related to maintaining a regulatory environment and tax structure that does not hinder business growth, development, and prosperity or place Union County businesses at a competitive disadvantage when competing with businesses outside our county’s borders. Therefore, the resolution also includes language to encourage leadership at Union County and UCPS to work together to manage school construction projects as efficiently as possible and manage their budgets and the use of this funding in such a way as to minimize the need for future tax increases.
The Union County Chamber remains focused on workforce development, diversity and inclusion, as well as maintaining a competitive tax structure. We encourage Union County voters to vote “yes” on the bond referendum in support of Union County Public Schools on November 8, 2022.
Last modified: December 19, 2022