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Officials optimistic about bond vote

The future of Lincoln County Schools will be decided on Tuesday May 4, when residents vote on a $47 million school bond referendum.
“If it doesn’t pass the needs don’t go away, just the options to deal with it change,” said Superintendent Jim Watson.
If the bond referendum passes a new elementary school will be built in the western end of the county and a new middle school will be built in central Lincoln County.
East Lincoln High School, West Lincoln High School and Lincolnton High School would all receive additional cultural arts wings and school gymnasiums.
Various schools would also receive renovations and repairs on old equipment.
“I don’t think any citizen would say that the children don’t deserve this,” said Tony Jenkins, a member of the Board of Education.
Jenkins has heard complaints about the building of North Lincoln High School. He believes that the current board will be careful with the money.
“This board makes sure that we spend it right without wastefulness or overdoing something,” said Jenkins. “I’m going to see that we don’t waste.”
School officials say the new schools and additions need to be built because of growth in Lincoln County.
“Anyone not aware of the growth has their head in the sand,” said Watson.
The new elementary school would cost $8,741,000. It would relieve overcrowding at Union and North Brook elementary schools.
Because of overcrowded conditions the schools have depended on mobile units. Scheduling time in the cafeteria, library and computer lab has become a challenge.
Lincolnton Middle School has also faced problems with its overcrowded situation.
The school will add three more mobile units next year, making a total of five on school grounds.
Already teachers of some elective classes such as health are traveling from classroom to classroom carting their supplies with them.
“Those teachers rove on carts,” said Scott Carpenter, principal of Lincolnton Middle School. “That’s not the quality way to present to a class.”
If the bond referendum passes, Lincolnton Middle School would have a $13,553,500 new building.
Students in centrally located elementary schools will also be affected by the change.
All centrally located elementary schools would be changed to primary schools serving grades Pre-K through third grade.
The building Lincolnton Middle School is currently in would be turned into a Intermediary School for fourth and fifth graders.
Building additions to three high schools would also accommodate growth in the county. All three additions would cost a total of $17,337,500.
Each addition would free up room for another 150 students at each school.
School officials are optimistic about the passing of the bond, and they believe that the population of the county will continue to grow.“Unless we plan for that, down the road we could face some overcrowded situations that would be detrimental to our students,” said Watson. “That’s the bottom line.” by Sarah Grano

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