funding.

understand state, local & federal
funds that support our schools

OPERATIONS

Funding for school operations pays for the expenses to operate individual schools and the district office.  It includes the salaries of teachers, principals, and other school staff; classroom materials; technology; library books; building maintenance; and district administration services and salaries.

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Greenville County Schools Operating Revenues

By Source, School Year 2017-18

Sources: “Education Finance Act Inflation Factor and Base Student Cost,” SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. (online: http://rfa.sc.gov/econ/educ); “General Fund Revenue Forecast, FINAL”, various years. SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. (online: http://rfa.sc.gov/econ/reports/forecast); “Educational Lottery Appropriations,” “Historical Analyses,” SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. (online: http://rfa.sc.gov/budget); Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, Greenville County Schools. (online: https://www.greenville.k12.sc.us); “South Carolina Property Tax Rates by County.” South Carolina Association of Counties. (online: http://www.sccounties.org/property-tax-rates); “Greenville County Schools, 2017-18 Special Projects Budgets,” Greenville County Schools.

CONSTRUCTION

School districts sell bonds to fund construction and renovation projects. The cost of these projects are spread over many years. Local property taxes pay for most of the principal and interest to bondholders – the debt payments on school construction.

Property Taxes

School districts tax property for two purposes – to fund operations and for construction debt payments. Funds cannot be transferred between the two. The Greenville County Schools (GCS) Board of Trustees sets the millage rate for each. One mill is the tax amount per $1,000 of the taxable value of a property.

Organization

GCS created a separate corporation in 2002 to build school facilities due to rapid enrollment growth and a lack of additions and improvements in preceding years. The district acquires these facilities from the corporation as it pays off the corporation’s debt. The state no longer allows this type of arrangement.

Future Growth

To keep up with student growth, the GCS facilities plan for 2019 to 2022 calls for the construction of a new high school, a career technology innovation center, an environmental science center, and additions to two elementary schools.

Debt Limit

A district’s total debt cannot exceed 8% of assessed valuation of property within its jurisdiction. As of September 2018, GCS was using 24% of its debt limit.

  • Property Tax
  • Funding Source

Greenville County Schools Property Tax Millage Rates

Note: State rank represents comparisons as of Tax Year 2018. State average represents simple average across all school districts. Sources: Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, Greenville County Schools. (online: https://www.greenville.k12.sc.us); "South Carolina Property Tax Rates by County." South Carolina Association of Counties. (online: http://www.sccounties.org/property-tax-rates); Assessed Valuation and Millage Rates,” South Carolina Department of Education (online: https://ed.sc.gov/finance/financial-data/historical-data/assessed-valuation-and-millage-rates/)

Revenues for School Construction Debt Payments By Source (School Year 2017-18)

SCHOOL BUSES

In South Carolina, the state provides all funding to purchase or lease new school buses. The buses are then distributed to school districts, where they are maintained by state maintenance shops. South Carolina is the only state with this arrangement.

State Law

In 2007 the state legislature passed a law requiring a 15-year bus replacement cycle. Despite the law, in many years the state does not provide sufficient funding to meet this requirement.

Needs

The state needs to appropriate about $34 million per year to meet the 15-year replacement cycle law.

Sources

State funding for new school buses comes from multiple sources. Recently, the primary source has been proceeds from the Education Lottery. Other sources have included the state's  General Fund budget, Capital Reserve Fund and one-year supplemental funds.

  • Bus Appropriations
  • Funding Source

State Appropriations for Buses (Millions of US$)

Source: "School Bus Purchase Appropriations" Table, "Historical Analyses," South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. (online: http://rfa.sc.gov/econ/reports)

School Bus Revenues
By Source (School Year 2018-19)

BUS AGE

Age of Greenville County Schools Bus Fleet

April 2019

0 to 5 Years

6 to 10 Years

11 to 15 Years

16 to 20 Years

Over 20 Years

Source: South Carolina Department of Education

With recent increases in state funding, the age of the school district bus fleet has improved.  As reported in The Post & Courier, buses that were prone to catching on fire are now off the road. Still, 12% of the district bus fleet is over 15 years old, and there are buses on the road with more than 350,000 miles on them. During the 2017-18 school year, district buses averaged more than 7 breakdowns or failures to start per day.

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