How to pay for a new Halifax County High School

School Board voted Monday to pursue building a new high school

HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. – With a 6-1 vote Monday night in favor of building a new high school, Halifax County School Board members brought a new high school one step closer to reality.

They now hope to use donations from business and individuals, a sales tax increase and possibly a bond referendum to cover the estimated roughly $100 million cost of the school.

Halifax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis Witt said Tuesday he is willing to consider a tax increase.

"I think everybody agrees we have the need (for a new high school), and we're trying now to find the ways and means," Witt said.

He said the county's voters will likely decide, though, if taxes increase or not.

"I don't think the supervisors would be willing to tackle a real large tax increase without a referendum. That's just my opinion," he said.

He pointed out that any tax increase would have to be "sizeable," but the exact amount is unknown.

"To put a number on it, I don't think we're in a position to do that yet," Witt said.

Legislation going through the General Assembly right now proposes allowing localities to increase their sales tax to help pay for school projects.

School Board Chairman Joe Gasperini said after Monday night's meeting that school officials plan to go to Richmond next week to discuss the proposed legislation with legislators.

"Following that, we're having a giant fundraising kickoff at the end of this month," Gasperini said. "We're talking to several major corporate donors over the next couple of weeks."

A production company is helping the school district develop a fundraising plan.

The company has worked with school districts before, including in Winchester, where a foundation has been set up that has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school district.

"I think this is a tremendous time for Halifax County," Gasperini said.

The goal is to break ground on a new school next year.

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