Spartanburg District 4 voters approve $100 million referendum to build new Woodruff High School

·4 min read

Spartanburg County District 4 voters approved a referendum to allow the district to issue up to $100 million in general obligation bonds to build a new Woodruff High School.

The vote was 956 or 53.50 percent in favor and 831 or 46.50 percent against. Voters went to the polls to cast their ballots on Thursday, Aug. 11, and a total of 1,787 votes were cast. The results were ratified on Friday.

District 4 trustees said the new school was needed to handle future growth in the district, and they wanted to build sports facilities.

On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. This is Woodruff High School near the center of the city.
On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. This is Woodruff High School near the center of the city.

The new high school will be located on Highway 146, less than a mile away from the already existing school. The new Woodruff High School is expected to open in the fall of 2025.

District 4 Superintendent Rallie Liston issued a statement on voters approving the bond referendum.

"On behalf of the Spartanburg District 4 School Board and Administration, we want to thank our community for acknowledging the need for a new school to accommodate growth in our district," Liston said in the statement. "We will continue to communicate with our community as the project moves forward. It is an exciting time, as we work to provide a sense of pride, loyalty, and tradition to our students creating new spaces for student learning."

Spartanburg School District 4 is preparing for the future with 5,000 homes planned for development in the school district and an estimate of 2,500 students to be enrolled over the next few school years, according to Liston.

Opinion: It's time for Woodruff and Spartanburg District 4 to get a new high school

The new school plan will be:

► 2nd Grade – 3rd Grades will be placed in the current elementary school

► 4th Grade – 5th Grades will be placed in the current middle school

► 6th Grade – 8th Grades will be placed in the current high school

► 9th Grade – 12th Grade will be placed in the new building

Woodruff High School Principal Christine Morris said the future growth will bring a beneficial change for the community.

"Woodruff High School’s enrollment is increasing and will continue to increase as new housing developments are completed and as new businesses open," Morris said. "We want to embrace this growth and continue to provide a safe learning environment for all of our students while maintaining a sense of community pride. Woodruff High School is excited to welcome our new families."

How do residents feel about a new school?

Debra Westfield said she's ready for Woodruff to get a new school.

"My children graduated from here, my grandson just graduated and I have two grandchildren in the elementary and middle school now," Westfield said. "We are getting a lot of people in the town of Woodruff. Woodruff is growing and we need a bigger school."

On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. Debra Westfield  came to cast her vote.
On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. Debra Westfield came to cast her vote.

Some voters said a new school will benefit students and teachers.

"We have a lot of teachers in our family," said Nancy Walker, a Woodruff native. "It's needed with all of these new people moving into the community. The schools are overrun, and they will have to bring in new teachers since they can't do it with what they've got now. Some of the teachers I've talked to have said they've had 30 students in one classroom."

On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. Curtis and Nancy Walker talk about their vote.
On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. Curtis and Nancy Walker talk about their vote.

Martha Baggett a former Woodruff High School employee said a new school will not only allow students to have a comfortable atmosphere to gain an education, but a new school can provide more jobs for teachers.

"I used to work at Woodruff High School, and even then it was a bit crowded," Baggett said. "The school will benefit students, teachers and the whole community. It's going to bring everyone more opportunities."

On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. Martha Baggett talks about her vote.
On Aug. 11, 2022 residents of District 4 voted on whether or not to build a new Woodruff High School. Martha Baggett talks about her vote.

However, some residents did not want the tax increase due to them no longer having children or grandchildren who attend school.

Cara Forde, a new resident of the community, was strongly opposed to a new school.

"I'm not for it just because I feel like they didn't get the proper work to get the funding beforehand," Forde said. "They're doing more things in response to anticipating that they will have more students and houses. With the current economy, you can't guarantee that all those houses will be full by then. The city is doing too much, too fast and they're making us pay for it."

The tax increase breakdown for the referendum would be: 

Home values of $100,000 will have a $120 per year increase/ homestead exemption will have a $60 per year increase.

Home values of $200,000 will have a $240 per year increase/ homestead exemption will have a $180 per year increase.

Home values of $300,000 will have a $360 per year increase/ homestead exemption will have a $300 per year increase.

Joanna Johnson covers education and community news for the Herald-Journal. Reach her via email at jjohnson@shj.com. 

This article originally appeared on Herald-Journal: Spartanburg voters approve referendum to build new Woodruff High School