Charleston, South Carolina, County School Board suggests tax hike

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The County School Board will ask voters this fall to support an eight-year, one-penny sales tax increase that would generate at least $500 million for construction projects.

The money would cover at least 16 new school buildings, two whole school renovations and comprehensive athletic complexes for three areas of the county. The big question now is whether voters will vote in favor of the tax.

If they don't, county residents instead would see their property taxes increase to pay for the rebuilding of five schools with seismic problems -- Buist Academy, Charleston Progressive Academy, James Simons Elementary, Memminger Elementary and Sullivan's Island Elementary -- but none of the district's other building needs would be addressed. The eight-year tax includes those projects as well as a number of others, and property taxes would not be raised.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Chris wrote:

“one-penny sales tax increase”

what a classic example of the lame stream media shilling for their tax raising politician buddies.  it’s a 1% increase.  what if a politician proposed a 1% decrease in spending?  do you think they’d pitch it as a “penny decrease?”

July 30, 10:23 am | [comment link]
2. Payton wrote:

Actually Chris, this would be an increase from 7.5% to 8.5%... or a 13.3% increase in sales tax.

July 30, 10:53 am | [comment link]
3. Grandmother wrote:

Well,I hope they take a lesson from Berkeley County.. We passed such a tax a few years ago, with the money only going to releave the property tax burden.. For the second year in a row, our County council voted to send 19% of that tax money to other projects, and they are getting away with hit.. So good luck Charleston, elections have consequences..

July 30, 12:33 pm | [comment link]
4. Br. Michael wrote:

And if they think it will expire in 8 years I have some Florida swamp land to sell them.

July 30, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
5. Chris wrote:

good point #2.

July 30, 3:52 pm | [comment link]
6. Dale Rye wrote:

I’m sure the money will only go to teach children godless ideas like that the world is round (no four corners? Blasphemy!).

Seriously, if you want schools, you have to pay for them. If Charleston needs 16 new buildings to accommodate its children, where else are they going to come from if the existing revenue is committed to operations and maintenance, leaving nothing for new construction?

The only way to eliminate taxes is to eliminate services… for other people, since nobody is ever in favor of cutting benefits they receive themselves. Everybody likes trash pickup, but nobody wants a landfill. NIMBY (not in my back yard) lives! Everybody wants an educated workforce and electorate, but nobody wants school taxes.

July 30, 5:06 pm | [comment link]
7. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

If you want an educated workforce, don’t send them to public schools!  Here in CT most grade levels are scoring about 30% mastery in reading at grade level.

Where is the mention of cutting expenses?  Here is a thought…instead of 16 new school buildings, why not purchase of lease temporary classrooms (trailers) and park them on the school grounds.  If they need more, add a trailer.  If the class size declines, sell or don’t renew the lease.  Where is it written that multi-million dollar buildings are an educational necessity?  Here is another idea…how about a municipal wage freeze until the economy turns around?  I bet they could manage to make it through the year without a tax increase if they did those two things.

July 30, 11:36 pm | [comment link]
8. John Wilkins wrote:

Given the ranking of SC schools in the country, will it make a difference?

July 31, 12:50 am | [comment link]
9. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Given the ranking of SC schools in the country, will it make a difference?”

Nope—not a bit. 

Sick and Tired—great ideas.

Another option would be to cut the bennies, along with the copious quantities of administrators.

July 31, 2:33 pm | [comment link]
10. John Wilkins wrote:

Perhaps our children really aren’t worth sending to schools that are safe structures.  In fact, Sick and Tired, that’s what most school districts have done, but generally for their poorer (and darker) students.  Granted, I have no opinion about whether teachers and students should have pleasant learning enviroments, but I suspect that if I were in SC I’d rather send my kids to a private - or a magnet school - given that plenty of politicians think teaching kids in a closet is morally justified. 

Not only should SC get rid of bennies, they might want to make teaching a minimum-wage job and see how that goes.  Perhaps they should start hiring foreign workers (english speakers, of course!) as it would be a lot less expensive than expensive union types. 

In 2008, the SC chamber of congress ranked the state 44th in education and work force preparedness.  Clearly, the answer is to spend less on education and fire their ineffective teachers.  Obviously the Government of SC hasn’t done that well in managing its schools.

July 31, 8:42 pm | [comment link]
11. John Wilkins wrote:

An interesting NY Times article about the worth of Kindergarten teachers.  Don’t expect the anti-tax crowd to get on board with that, however.  Too clever kids won’t remain the working class for the plutocrats that seek to exploit them.

July 31, 9:45 pm | [comment link]
12. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:


In fact, Sick and Tired, that’s what most school districts have done, but generally for their poorer (and darker) students.

Do you have a reliable source for that?  If not, I don’t believe it.

...plenty of politicians think teaching kids in a closet is morally justified.


Name them and supply the quote.

BTW, you are the only one talking about paying teachers minimum wage.  No one else suggested any such nonsense.

July 31, 11:08 pm | [comment link]
13. John Wilkins wrote:

Heh, STN, I guess I’ll just have to nuance my position a bit.  I was being… a bit hyperbolic.  Admittedly.  I still think a good tax cutting politician would rather cut taxes than spend on kids, if only because tax cuts are a good way of making people feel good, and kids can’t vote.

Politicians seeking to reduce taxes can easily take it out of education and make teachers an useful scapegoat. 

Herding kids into trailers is an interesting idea, but I wouldn’t want my kids taught in them, and don’t think other kids should be either.  It’s cheap, and represents the fact most people give lip service to education and have limits toward how much they think it’s worth educating kids at all.  I bet rich South Carolinians wouldn’t tolerate it.  They’d probably send their kids to private school first.

July 31, 11:41 pm | [comment link]
14. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Well, they certainly do not cut education first in CT.  The average teacher’s salary is over $59,000 plus benefits.  They average 13.5 students per teacher and the Net Current Expenditure per student (2007) was over $12,000.  For all that money, we get a lousy return.  The Hartford Courant just ran a multi-page story about it last week, and the mastery scores were abysmal!

As for the trailers…my sister-in-law is a teacher in Mississippi, and they use trailers there for some of the classrooms.  It works just fine.  In fact, if you look at the demographics and compare them, they are doing a better job of educating their children there than we are in Hartford County and they are doing it for about half the price.

What’s wrong with doing something that works and costs less money?  If money were plentiful and unemployment were low, well sure, spend away and make nice buildings…but money is tight and a lot of people are suffering.  Adding huge tax burdens on them right now isn’t very smart or compassionate.  Getting the job done and saving millions of dollars, so that property taxes don’t have to go up (so there are fewer forclosures) sure seems like a better way to go.

Rich South Carolinians already send their kids to private schools…just like all the Democrat congressmen and women do in DC (and so do the Republicans).

August 1, 12:09 am | [comment link]
15. Branford wrote:

California has used trailers for years since it lets the schools accommodate greater or fewer students without leaving buildings empty or having to plan years in advance to construct a building that may only be used for a few years, until the student population goes down. Nothing wrong with trailers!

August 1, 1:04 pm | [comment link]
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