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Pulaski supervisors leave new middle school decision up to voters in November

The $47 million proposal will be decided via ballot referendum in the county

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Pulaski supervisors have put the decision whether or not to build a new middle school on the November ballot. It's an outcome that leaves people on both sides of the issue concerned about the future.

People in favor of the new middle school were hoping that it would be funded outright, and people against the idea were hoping it would be panned altogether. It was a bittersweet evening Monday for members of the Pulaski County Citizens for Education, like Ashley Hale who came sporting a t-shirt with the phrase "Just build it."

"We would have loved to have them fund it outright tonight for several reasons, but the main reason being that we have the potential to save millions of dollars by locking in interest rates that we have right now," said Hale.

Not funding the school yet delays any decision by four months, meaning more time students have to spend in a middle school with cracking walls and no air-conditioning. Supervisor Andy McCready says it was a tough call.

"The board members felt it was just best to send it to the voters, because we have a number of people that feel very strongly on both sides," said McCready.

People that feel very strongly against funding a $47 million new school are worried about a potential 14 cent tax increase. People like Walter Viers who lives on social security.

"I've got so much for groceries, I've got so much for taxes, I've got so much for car insurance. I've got a car payment, so much for that, plus I've got grandkids, and what I've got, I planned for," said Viers.

It's people like Viers that Hale says she will have four months to convince.

"Those who are on a fixed income and are concerned about the tax increase, we're going to have to help them to see why this is important for our community for them as well as for the children," said Hale.

If people do vote for the new middle school this November, supervisors say construction crews could be breaking ground as early as the summer of 2018.