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Greenville County Schools, along with all South Carolina school districts, experience significant fluctuations in education spending associated with economic cycles. After plummeting over 14% per student following the Great Recession, spending has increased an average of 2.3% per student annually in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Operational Expenditures

Operational expenditures include those funded by state and federal government as well as the local school district. They do not include construction and associated debt service expenditures.

Recession Impact

Greenville County Schools (GCS) experienced a decline of $858 in per-student spending in the wake of the Great Recession before rebounding.

Average Spending

After adjusting for inflation, South Carolina school districts, on average, spent $1,188 more per student than GCS in 2019.


When adjusting for inflation, GCS spent $433 more per student in 2019 than in 2008.

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Greenville County Schools Operational Per-Pupil K-12 Expenditures

School Years 2006-2019


In the 2018-19 school year, 71.5% of Greenville County Schools (GCS) operational expenditures went toward the combination of instruction and instructional support.  The percentage for South Carolina school districts was 69.2%.   Compared to the state average, GCS spent a higher percentage of its operational expenditures on instruction, instructional support and school management and a lower percentage on operations and district administration.

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Greenville County Schools Operational Expenditures by Category

School Year 2018-19

Sources: In$ite Financial Data, South Carolina Department of Education, various years. (online: https://ed.sc.gov/finance/financial-data/in-ite/)


The policy of Greenville County Schools is to keep a minimum of one-month (8.3%) of annual operating expenses in reserve. In comparison, the City of Greenville’s policy is 20% of annual expenses while Greenville County’s policy is 25% to 35%.

Why Maintain a Reserve?


The inflow of operating revenue doesn’t always match the payment of expenses, so reserves allow the district to pay bills without borrowing funds and paying interest on those funds. Due to this mismatch, the reserve amount can vary greatly from month to month.


The district may also maintain money in reserve to protect against mid-year cuts in state funding. This reserve prevents major disruptions during the school year.


The school district’s operating reserve policy allows the district to keep a high bond rating and pay less in interest on construction debt service bonds.

Reserve Requirements, Greenville County Schools

Versus Greenville County and City of Greenville
Greenville County (25% - 35%)
City of Greenville (20%)
Greenville County Schools (8.3%)


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