The Fauquier County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to delay holding a bond referendum to finance construction of the county's third high school until after the general election in November.
The board unanimously waived a policy that requires projects costing more than $10 million to be placed on the ballot during the general election. The Fauquier County School Board had sought the waiver, arguing that it needed more time to educate voters about the issue. The referendum is now expected to be held in the spring.
Supervisor Raymond E. Graham (R-Cedar Run) said it was important that the School Board have an opportunity to "take the show on the road."
"If you inform the public and give them the opportunity to hear all the information, then the public will do the right thing," he said.
In an effort to relieve crowding at its two high schools, the School Board decided last year to build another high school, which will probably be near Marshall or in New Baltimore. The cost of the 1,200-student school, expected to open in August 2007, is estimated at $46 million. Officials say that figure could change after design work is completed.
In voting to hold a special referendum separate from the general election, the Board of Supervisors acknowledged that the county would have to bear the extra cost. The county registrar estimated that a special election would cost about $22,000.
The Board of Supervisors also voted Monday to waive a policy that would have limited expenditures on preliminary architectural and engineering design work. Supervisors previously authorized 35 percent of the total funding for the design of the high school. The School Board will now be able to complete the design work, which is expected to cost nearly $1.5 million.
School officials argued that the need for a high school was so apparent that the county should borrow money immediately to finance it instead of waiting to hold a referendum, but the county denied that request. Board Chairman Harry Atherton (I-Marshall) said Monday that the county did not want to jeopardize plans for the school but wanted to make sure voters understood the issue.