A large rally will be held at the Statehouse on Wednesday in support of public education funding, which is facing drastic budget cuts. The “Enough is Enough!” rally will bring together at least 14 non-governmental organizations, including school administrators from around the state.
One of those attending will be Kershaw County Superintendent Frank Morgan. The Kershaw school district, which serves the Camden community, has faced great difficulties and the local board has even considered closing a school this year.
Morgan says the district’s budget at the beginning of 2008 was more than $72 million. That dropped in one year to $66 million, and it’s now $62 million. The prediction for next year is $60 million.
(Morgan on budget cuts MP3 2:15)
Morgan on budget cuts
Morgan says South Carolina educators need to work harder to advocate for their profession and their classrooms. He hopes for a big turnout at Wednesday’s rally. The program begins at 5pm at the Statehouse.
Morgan says the next cuts will reach the classrooms. He says he knows some districts that already considering cutting up to 60 teacher positions. Morgan says his school board decided six weeks ago not to close a school, at least not yet, but they’ll have to do something. He says first of all they are looking at cutting back alternative school programs.
Kershaw County is a growing bedroom Community of Columbia, so the Act 388 tax law of 2006 really hurt local school operations. That tax shift favored homeowners by releaving their property tax burden, and added one cent to the sales tax. Morgan says that was a very bad idea, since revenue from sales taxes is doomed to drop during a bad economy.
Morgan says to compound the problem in Kershaw and some other counties, the funding formula is also flawed. For every dollar credited to owner-occupied homes for school operations under Act 388, each school district is supposed to get back that number of dollars as generated through the sales tax. But Morgan says last year that formula gave Kershaw County $1.2 million less in reimbursements than the credits which it was granted.