Charleston Co. School District looks for even larger tax hike

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 7:08 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District staff say they need an even bigger property tax hike than they suggested two weeks ago.

When district leaders presented the draft budget to the school board in April, they suggested going with an option that would raise property tax by 6.3 mills, which would bring in about $19 million more dollars. That number has now been adjusted, and the administration is asking the board to consider a millage increase of 9.1 to bring in roughly $28 million.

Under this version of the budget, the district won’t have to make $5 million in changes to the central office. It also gives the district the $3 million it needs to expand learning services for special needs students.

The district is still making cuts. One of the things they did earlier this year is put a hiring freeze into effect through June, so all that money could be used for next year’s budget.

Channa Williams, the district’s interim CFO, says they’re using emergency funds and cutting where they can, but when it comes to balancing the budget there just aren’t a lot of other opinions for increasing revenue, and the tax increase is needed.

The millage increase would impact businesses and non-owner-occupied homes as well as cars and personal property. It would not impact owner-occupied homes.

The first reading of the budget will go to the school board on Monday. Williams says there will be changes before the final draft is approved based on what the state legislature does in the coming weeks.

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