understand state, local & federal
funds that support our schools


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.

Background Heading

Greenville County Schools Operating Revenues

By Source, School Year 2019-20

Sources: “Education Finance Act Inflation Factor and Base Student Cost,” SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. (online:; “General Fund Revenue Forecast, FINAL”, various years. SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. (online:; “Educational Lottery Appropriations,” “Historical Analyses,” SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. (online:; Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, Greenville County Schools. (online:; “South Carolina Property Tax Rates by County.” South Carolina Association of Counties. (online:; “Greenville County Schools, 2017-18 Special Projects Budgets,” Greenville County Schools.


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 assessed value of a property.


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 2021 to 2025 calls for the construction of a new high school, a new elementary school, an environmental science center and additions to two elementary schools.  A planned career technology innovation/incubation center has been delayed.

Debt Limit

A district’s total debt cannot exceed 8% of assessed valuation of property within its jurisdiction.  As of June 2020, GCS was using 20% 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:; "South Carolina Property Tax Rates by County." South Carolina Association of Counties. (online:; Assessed Valuation and Millage Rates,” South Carolina Department of Education (online:

Revenues for School Construction Debt Payments By Source (School Year 2019-20)


In South Carolina the state, and not the school districts, provides the 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 nearly every year the state has not provided sufficient funding to meet this requirement.


The state needs to appropriate about $35 million per year to meet the 15-year replacement cycle law.


State funding for new school buses comes from multiple sources. Recently, the largest source has been proceeds from the Education Lottery with additional funding provided in the state's General Fund budget.  In the past, other state sources have included the Capital Reserve Fund and one-year supplemental funds.  Since 2019, additional funding for new school buses has come from the Volkswagen settlement ($31.5 million) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ($500,000).

  • 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:

School Bus Revenues By Source (School Year 2020-21)


Age of Greenville County Schools Bus Fleet

August 2020

0 to 5 Years

6 to 10 Years

11 to 15 Years

16 to 20 Years

Over 20 Years

Sources: “Historical Analyses,” South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office; South Carolina Department of Education

With recent increases in state funding, the age of the school district bus fleet has greatly improved, and as reported in The Post & Courier, buses prone to catching on fire were off the road by January 2019.  While still not meeting the 15-year bus replacement cycle, the 5% of the district bus fleet that is over 15 years old is a big improvement from the 50% at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.

During the 2019-20 school year, district buses averaged 4.5 breakdowns or failures to start per day–a major decrease from the 7.6 averaged per day two years earlier.


For public education

Contact your elected representatives about our public schools. They want to hear from you!

Share this...