Guest Editorial: Are our schools getting too much money?

  • Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Berkeley County schools receive 69 cents of every tax dollar that I pay.
Take a look at your last year’s tax receipts, they will be similar to mine. You do want to know how your tax money is spent, right?  
I even suggest that you save last year’s tax receipts, because that will be the smallest bill you will see for a long time. With the recent $198 million school bond having passed in the last election and the $54 million operational bond passed by the school board at last months meeting, our taxes are going up!
The two bills I am looking at for a home and one car, in the county, combine for a total of $1,617.70 in taxes for the year. Out of that, $1,123.69 goes to the school system. That leaves $494.01 for the rest of our county services.
Why is so much money needed for schools?
Let’s think about this for a moment.
Out of every dollar that we pay, approximately 69 cents goes to fund the school system to provide education to the approximate 30,000 students who attend Berkeley County schools. That leaves 31 cents from every dollar to fund all remaining services in the county for nearly 200,000 residents. 
Such things as the Sheriff’s Office, detention center, Solicitor, judges, courts, EMS, fire departments, Veterans’ services, elections, Clerk of Court, health services, register of deeds, community services, senior citizens, libraries, roads and bridges, magistrates, probate, social services, mental health, medically indigent, historical sites, rescue squad, finance, information technology, water and sanitation, Coroner, animal control, engineer department, code enforcement, emergency preparedness, mosquito abatement, Assessor, Legal, HR, maintenance of county facilities, all county vehicles, county recreational facilities, pay and benefits for all county employees, retirement benefits for former county employees … and there are more but you get the point … 69 cents for schools, 31 cents for everything else. 
If you live in a municipality, insert “city” for “county” and it figures out to about the same.
Is it just me or is something wrong here?
Many complain about public services, law enforcement, fire protection, etc.  Many also complain about the schools. 
Raising taxes time and time again has not worked.
What is the solution? 
First, awareness. Look at for what you are currently paying.   Did you know how much of your dollar goes to the school and to the county? 
Second, if you are not happy about it, attend a school board meeting or attend a council meeting and ask to address the board or council. Tell them what you think about how they are using your money.  If they do not respond, replace them!
Mr. Gunn is a member of Berkeley County Council.


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