Letters to the Editor

Time for straight facts on district's finances

Here are some important facts:

  • The Beaufort County School District has the lowest property tax rate in South Carolina at 116.59 mills. Compare this with Richland County Schools (Columbia) where the rate is 284.4 mills, more than twice as high.
  • Beaufort County is the only district in the state that does not receive any Education Finance Act money. The Richland County districts receive $79 million.
  • The cost of living for housing and utilities in Beaufort County is the highest in the state, according to IRS statistics released March 1. Richland county cost of living is 21 percent lower.
  • In spite of our higher cost of living, our district's cost per student of $10,606 is not the highest in the state. Several districts are higher, according to the state Department of Education.
  • 2011 revenue will likely be short of the County Council's final budget for the district by about $4.5 million, requiring the use of reserve fund dollars.
  • For the past three years and for the proposed 2012 budget, the district is serving more students, while reducing staff by 169 positions. Children's education will begin to suffer.
  • In comparison, Beaufort County government has announced eliminating only eight engineering positions during this recession.
  • The district has not had a tax rate increase in the past three years, while absorbing the overhead of opening six new school buildings and paying more than $2 million a year to the Riverview Charter School.
  • Jim Bequette

    Lady's Island