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 2021-22

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 Long Range Facilities Plan for FY22 to FY26 calls for additions at eight elementary schools and one middle school.  It also includes  construction of a new elementary school and a career technology innovation/ incubation center.

Debt Limit

A district’s total debt cannot exceed 8% of assessed valuation of property within its jurisdiction.  As of June 2022, GCS was using 15% of its debt limit.

Greenville County Schools Property Tax Millage Rates

Note: State rank represents comparisons as of 12-31-22. 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:

Revenues for School Construction Debt Payments By Source (School Year 2021-22)


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).

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

September 2021

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 and the addition of other funding (see “Sources” above), the age of the school district route 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.  As of the start of the 2021-22 school year, the bus fleet nearly met the state 15-year bus replacement cycle law.  This is a big improvement from the 2014-15 school year when 50% of the district’s bus fleet was more than 15 years old.   For the state as a whole, 3% of the route bus fleet was more than 15 years old at the start of the 2021-22 school year.


For public education

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

Share this...