Beaufort News

Both school proposals shot down by Beaufort County voters

Barbara and Mike Garrigan, of Hilton Head, voted against both of the school district's referendum questions.
Barbara and Mike Garrigan, of Hilton Head, voted against both of the school district's referendum questions.

Beaufort County voters were unmoved by the Beaufort County Board of Education’s request for more than $300 million in new sales tax revenue to pay for new schools, make improvements to existing ones and reduce property taxes.

They soundly defeated two proposals on Tuesday’s ballot: one to allow the district to borrow $217 million for the work and a second to increase the county’s sales tax by 1 percent.

The bond question was failing 54.63 percent to 45.37 percent and the sales tax was failing 59.19 to 40.81 at 2:50 a.m. Wednesday with 91 of 92 precincts reporting.

Voters also shot down the Beaufort County 1 percent sales tax referendum for countywide infrastructure and capital improvements. With those results, the county sales tax will remain at 6 percent.

For some voters, the two school district proposals were a referendum on the school board itself, which has faced criticism for its handling of the superintendent’s nepotism scandal in November 2015 and its apparent dysfunction since then.

Mike and Barbara Garrigan of Hilton Head Island said those problems impacted their decision at the polls Tuesday.

“I feel like the board has been really remiss in its duties,” Barbara Garrigan said. Mike Garrigan added that he thought the projects seemed too expensive and the sales tax increase would last for too long — 10 years.

Many others at the polls Tuesday said they were unaware of or confused by the questions. Some told reporters they were unsure how they had voted just moments earlier or that they had to spend an inordinate amount of time reading the questions.

“You almost have to be a lawyer to understand them,” said Darwin Cleveland of St. Helena Island, who voted for the bond proposal but against the educational sales tax as a compromise. He wanted to support education but disliked that there were far fewer projects in northern Beaufort County than in the southern part.

He wasn’t alone in splitting his vote.

The school district’s bond referendum had slightly more support than the educational sales tax. About 45.37 percent, or about 29,955 of 66,024 people, voted “yes” to allowing the school board to borrow $217 million to carry out its list of capital projects.

That’s compared to only 40.81 percent, or about 27,692 of 67,863 people, who voted “yes” to the sales tax.

School board members had promised to reduce property taxes on district debt service by more than 42 percent if both referendums passed.

Now that both questions have been struck down, the school district will have to scramble to complete a new plan for capital improvements so it can continue to keep pace with growing enrollment and aging facilities. Its plans included the construction of two new schools in Bluffton and additions or renovations to nine existing schools.

The election results will be a disappointment to some who voted for those projects, like Del Marie McDonald of Lady’s Island.

“Education is the future of our country,” she said. “I think if we don’t support them and do what we can, it’s going to fall apart.”

Superintendent Jeff Moss has said failure to carry out its projects could force the district to increase class sizes, add modular classrooms, redistrict or change which schools serve which grades.

Attempts to reach Moss and board chairwoman Mary Cordray were unsuccessful late Tuesday.

Rebecca Lurye: 843-706-8155, @IPBG_Rebecca

Click or tap here for more results

Precinct results for ballot questions

All results from SC Election Commission and are unofficial until certified.


Ballot question 1: Beaufort County 1% Capital Projects Sales Tax Referendum

Map legend: Blue = Opposed to question, green = In favor of the question

BEAUFORT 1167186353
BEAUFORT 2205234439
BEAUFORT 3252287539
BURTON 1A318383701
BURTON 1B193211404
BURTON 1C280320600
BURTON 2A237386623
BURTON 2B315405720
BURTON 2C377432809
BURTON 3102101203
CHECHESSEE 1393435828
CHECHESSEE 2387332719
Ladys Island 1A283379662
Ladys Island 1B315390705
Ladys Island 2A314475789
Ladys Island 2B244331575
Ladys Island 3A177251428
Ladys Island 3B222307529
Mossy Oaks 1A194284478
Mossy Oaks 1B264313577
Mossy Oaks 2242295537
PORT ROYAL 1232253485
PORT ROYAL 2232244476
DALE LOBECO189243432
SEABROOK 1198268466
SEABROOK 2180187367
SEABROOK 3276325601
SHELDON 1255219474
SHELDON 2175164339
BURTON 1D124128252
Saint Helena 1A171303474
Saint Helena 1B221332553
Saint Helena 1C310477787
Saint Helena 2A231333564
Saint Helena 2B192362554
Saint Helena 2C227362589
Ladys Island 2C212268480
Ladys Island 3C191252443
HILTON HEAD 1A310258568
HILTON HEAD 1B303217520
HILTON HEAD 2A367326693
HILTON HEAD 2B314245559
HILTON HEAD 2C355545900
HILTON HEAD 3231260491
HILTON HEAD 4A180246426
HILTON HEAD 4B258401659
HILTON HEAD 4C252306558
HILTON HEAD 4D259372631
HILTON HEAD 5B223333556
HILTON HEAD 5C250297547
HILTON HEAD 6304477781
HILTON HEAD 7A224375599
HILTON HEAD 7B274371645
HILTON HEAD 8198239437
HILTON HEAD 9A373436809
HILTON HEAD 9B274414688
HILTON HEAD 10452417869
HILTON HEAD 11200378578
HILTON HEAD 12167221388
HILTON HEAD 13261309570
HILTON HEAD 14209318527
HILTON HEAD 15A125207332
HILTON HEAD 15B214294508
Bluffton 1A341324665
Bluffton 1B250225475
Bluffton 1C340354694
Bluffton 1D341269610
Bluffton 2A256183439
Bluffton 2B262257519
Bluffton 2C4736471,120
MOSS CREEK447518965
Bluffton 3203196399
Bluffton 4A176222398
Bluffton 4B294330624
Bluffton 4C386434820
Bluffton 5A268272540
Bluffton 2D5475741,121
Bluffton 2E283269552
ROSE HILL393586979
Bluffton 4D263353616
Bluffton 5B222249471
SUN CITY 1264377641
SUN CITY 2181246427
SUN CITY 3259395654
SUN CITY 4226308534
SUN CITY 5205327532
SUN CITY 6228291519
SUN CITY 7193263456
SUN CITY 8266357623
Failsafe Provisional000

Ballot question 2: Beaufort County School District $217,000,000 General Obligation Bonds

Map legend: Blue = Opposed to question, green = In favor of the question

PrecinctIn favor of the questionOpposed to the questionTotal
BEAUFORT 1157182339
BEAUFORT 2192232424
BEAUFORT 3234295529
BURTON 1A340329669
BURTON 1B216158374
BURTON 1C298277575
BURTON 2A284320604
BURTON 2B359332691
BURTON 2C382411793
BURTON 312476200
CHECHESSEE 1329467796
CHECHESSEE 2376317693
Ladys Island 1A315331646
Ladys Island 1B290392682
Ladys Island 2A353409762
Ladys Island 2B260305565
Ladys Island 3A151263414
Ladys Island 3B187321508
Mossy Oaks 1A202263465
Mossy Oaks 1B238326564
Mossy Oaks 2239271510
PORT ROYAL 1222241463
PORT ROYAL 2259215474
DALE LOBECO213180393
SEABROOK 1244201445
SEABROOK 2174168342
SEABROOK 3316258574
SHELDON 1238194432
SHELDON 2199114313
BURTON 1D16281243
Saint Helena 1A190253443
Saint Helena 1B220285505
Saint Helena 1C231525756
Saint Helena 2A241278519
Saint Helena 2B234296530
Saint Helena 2C187389576
Ladys Island 2C200265465
Ladys Island 3C224209433
HILTON HEAD 1A296241537
HILTON HEAD 1B228252480
HILTON HEAD 2A332327659
HILTON HEAD 2B312195507
HILTON HEAD 2C268598866
HILTON HEAD 3201264465
HILTON HEAD 4A140266406
HILTON HEAD 4B183425608
HILTON HEAD 4C186343529
HILTON HEAD 4D206400606
HILTON HEAD 5B170367537
HILTON HEAD 5C200332532
HILTON HEAD 6238510748
HILTON HEAD 7A207367574
HILTON HEAD 7B226394620
HILTON HEAD 8167254421
HILTON HEAD 9A355413768
HILTON HEAD 9B182479661
HILTON HEAD 10439420859
HILTON HEAD 11176373549
HILTON HEAD 12124240364
HILTON HEAD 13251298549
HILTON HEAD 14170336506
HILTON HEAD 15A99226325
HILTON HEAD 15B160331491
Bluffton 1A344297641
Bluffton 1B229235464
Bluffton 1C354313667
Bluffton 1D321263584
Bluffton 2A252164416
Bluffton 2B291212503
Bluffton 2C4416351,076
MOSS CREEK318613931
Bluffton 3182199381
Bluffton 4A139242381
Bluffton 4B290319609
Bluffton 4C412378790
Bluffton 5A251268519
Bluffton 2D5705021,072
Bluffton 2E302244546
ROSE HILL387553940
Bluffton 4D246347593
Bluffton 5B245207452
SUN CITY 1198378576
SUN CITY 2126253379
SUN CITY 3192391583
SUN CITY 4173334507
SUN CITY 5162350512
SUN CITY 6161330491
SUN CITY 7147269416
SUN CITY 8230362592
Failsafe Provisional000

Ballot question 3: Beaufort County Education Capital Improvements Sales and Use Tax Act Referendum

Map legend: Blue = Opposed to question, green = In favor of the question

PrecinctIn favor of the questionOpposed to the questionTotal
BEAUFORT 1153191344
BEAUFORT 2180253433
BEAUFORT 3213320533
BURTON 1A316382698
BURTON 1B205182387
BURTON 1C260326586
BURTON 2A267346613
BURTON 2B338369707
BURTON 2C353456809
BURTON 311586201
CHECHESSEE 1320498818
CHECHESSEE 2335367702
Ladys Island 1A286373659
Ladys Island 1B255438693
Ladys Island 2A317470787
Ladys Island 2B237341578
Ladys Island 3A146279425
Ladys Island 3B158359517
Mossy Oaks 1A191279470
Mossy Oaks 1B231343574
Mossy Oaks 2222300522
PORT ROYAL 1224256480
PORT ROYAL 2234243477
DALE LOBECO186216402
SEABROOK 1225232457
SEABROOK 2166190356
SEABROOK 3306277583
SHELDON 1240206446
SHELDON 2201124325
BURTON 1D143106249
Saint Helena 1A201260461
Saint Helena 1B243287530
Saint Helena 1C193585778
Saint Helena 2A237308545
Saint Helena 2B227317544
Saint Helena 2C173419592
Ladys Island 2C197276473
Ladys Island 3C200246446
HILTON HEAD 1A275264539
HILTON HEAD 1B221270491
HILTON HEAD 2A310356666
HILTON HEAD 2B289230519
HILTON HEAD 2C232657889
HILTON HEAD 3177299476
HILTON HEAD 4A130283413
HILTON HEAD 4B157458615
HILTON HEAD 4C182353535
HILTON HEAD 4D171438609
HILTON HEAD 5B153389542
HILTON HEAD 5C183354537
HILTON HEAD 6192569761
HILTON HEAD 7A181412593
HILTON HEAD 7B226415641
HILTON HEAD 8144278422
HILTON HEAD 9A338440778
HILTON HEAD 9B159506665
HILTON HEAD 10377467844
HILTON HEAD 11160414574
HILTON HEAD 12130241371
HILTON HEAD 13242320562
HILTON HEAD 14139384523
HILTON HEAD 15A88239327
HILTON HEAD 15B137367504
Bluffton 1A339322661
Bluffton 1B213254467
Bluffton 1C334361695
Bluffton 1D302291593
Bluffton 2A240194434
Bluffton 2B255263518
Bluffton 2C4156981,113
MOSS CREEK270681951
Bluffton 3179220399
Bluffton 4A121272393
Bluffton 4B248377625
Bluffton 4C382420802
Bluffton 5A231304535
Bluffton 2D5515531,104
Bluffton 2E281267548
ROSE HILL337626963
Bluffton 4D218397615
Bluffton 5B236226462
SUN CITY 1182425607
SUN CITY 2114286400
SUN CITY 3182444626
SUN CITY 4144382526
SUN CITY 5147382529
SUN CITY 6154360514
SUN CITY 7147297444
SUN CITY 8227388615
Failsafe Provisional000