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School bond referendum on ballot May 20
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Forsyth County News

CUMMING -- In addition to a variety of political contests, Forsyth County voters will face another decision in the May 20 primary.

Thursday night, the Board of Education approved a referendum resolution, asking voters to decide if the school system should issue $195 million in general obligation bonds.

The funding would be used to continue building and improving schools to keep up the county’s fast-growing enrollment.

Dan Jones, system chief financial officer, said he’s worked with Citigroup on the best possible arrangement to maximize income while minimizing interest payments. The end result likely will be an 18-year bond proposal, which would save about $13 million in interest payments over a 20-year scenario.

“We played with these numbers a good bit and I think we’ve got something we can live with,” Jones told the board.

If voters approve the measure, the funds would be available as soon as the fall, with work to begin on projects through 2018.

The bulk of the money would be used toward additions and modifications to existing schools, funding one new middle school and a high school, while also buying land for future campuses.

The bond estimates are based on the presumption that the 1-cent sales tax for education will be extended by voters in a few years.

Board member Ann Crow noted the bond would be paid off with sales tax money, not by raising property taxes.

She added that with two previous bond measures slated to be paid off soon, this measure, if approved, would be “the major one we have left to pay off.”