Charleston County School District sees benefits from one-cent sales tax

The Charleston County School District says they’ve completed much needed capital maintenance and projects over the last five years.
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 4:05 PM EDT|Updated: May. 6, 2023 at 9:03 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District says they’ve completed much needed capital maintenance and projects over the last five years, and it’s all thanks to their one-cent sales tax.

From 2017 to 2022, the district says over $730 million was collected from the tax

The money provided students and the community with new facilities and what district officials are calling “significant improvements.”

District officials say they’ve seen huge success come from the money so far and look forward to continuing the progression.

“I think if the taxpayers take a look at what’s there, I think they’ll be pleased with the result,” Chief Operating Officer for Charleston County School District Jeffrey Borowy said. “I think we spent their taxpayer’s money wisely. I’d also hold it up to any other program really in the country, so we’re really happy with this.”

The next phase, Phase V, of the tax program includes several items, some of which are already in the works.

A new Hursey Montessori School is being built in North Charleston and is scheduled to open this summer.

For the Early College High School in Downtown Charleston, a new “support building” that will house a cafeteria and multi-purpose room is being developed.

New elementary schools in Ladson and Johns Island are also part of the Phase V plan.

The school district says a key portion of Phase V is developing additional early learning and family centers.

“We’re seeing a pretty good increase in the population in the North Charleston area, specifically where current Lambs Elementary School is located, and we’re looking at the existing property next to Lambs that’s owned by the Joint Based Charleston, to potentially lease the portion of their property to build the early education center,” Executive Director of Capital Programs for Charleston County School District Jasmeen Shaw said.

The plans and the sales tax go hand-and-hand, and district officials explain it doesn’t all fall on local citizens to come up with the funds.

“Because it’s paid for with sales tax, when we invite our parents and families down here to visit, they help us refurbish our schools,” Borowy said. “So, that amount of money comes that from tourism and obviously others from outside this area is huge for this program.”

He says they pay close attention to where and what the funding is going towards.

“To make sure between the combination of new construction and the maintenance work done in existing facilities, that it is fair across the district,” Borowy said. “Our smallest school in the furthest reaches of the district receives the same level of funding as a larger school in the heart of the city.”

The current tax program in place will run from 2023 to 2028, according to Borowy.