Winterville Residents Concerned Over Funding For Christian School Utility Lines

A group of concerned citizens in Winterville say they will protest a proposal for a private Christian school to move into the town limits, especially if the school expects taxpayers to pay part of the bill to do so.

Christ Covenant School in Winterville wants to grow from a K-eight, to a K-12 by 2015.

The school on Old Tar Road would move to a parcel of land off Worthington Road.

In June, the council agreed to voluntarily annex this land into town so the school could build.

Winterville town manager Terri Parker says, "A voluntary annexation gives you a little more flexibility in the two entities working together to get utilities to the property and that's what we've been doing since the annexation took effect."

But the current water line shared by Winterville and Greenville Utilities is not big enough to supply the 24 acre campus.

Parker says, "The school's direct costs we anticipate to be $200-220,000 and they've been asked to pay $120,000 thousand towards that project."

Calvin Henderson leads the Winterville Concerned Citizen and Development group and says he finds this agreement unfair and politically motivated. He says taxpayers shouldn't pay for a private school.

Henderson says, "It will naturally cause our citizen's increases in their utilities, it has to, and this is wrong."

Councilwoman Veronica Roberson says the town has a long-term plan to extend the water lines to that area at the cost of $1.2 million dollars. She says the school's interest only accelerated that plan. But in her six years on the board, she's never seen the town take on financial responsibility to pay for infrastructure for a project.

We reached out to Christ Covenant Church and have yet to hear back from the school board president.

Winterville's town council says the school could attract developers to the area, which is one reason the town is in favor of taking up part of the cost.

Parker says utility rates could go up, but by how much is still undetermined.