C.A.R.E host public meeting on proposed sales tax for education - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

C.A.R.E host public meeting on proposed sales tax for education

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Dozens of Beaufort County residents discussed their concerns about a potential sales tax proposed by the school district.

The community input meeting was hosted by the Citizens Advocating Responsible Education. Organizers say they want to educate the public about the penny tax proposal that would cost folks one cent for every penny spent in the county. 

The group says the tax concerns them and they want the community to be educated on the tax before the school board makes a decision.  

River Ridge Academy opened last fall. May River High School will open in August. The new construction is driven by an increase in students moving into the district.

“At this point in time, I kind of see where the school is overcrowded,” said Beaufort County parent Kathy Walker.

The district predicts student enrollment will increase by more than 3,000 in the next decade. The penny tax will go towards building new schools in the Bluffton area, maintenance and expanding current schools.

“At least we know we’re going to see and it’s going to a good cause. We’re going to see that penny because the money we’re spending on the purchases that we need to make going towards schools,” said Walker.

CARE says it understands the need for growth, but $300 million is a lot of money to ask taxpayers for.

“We believe that this is very important, because it asks for one percent of most every purchase that you make. Studies and economists agree that sales tax is the most regressive types of tax there is which means it hits the poor people more than it does everybody else,” said CARE co-founder Rebecca Bass.

But says their input meetings are community driven. Organizers want to hear how residents feel before taking a stance on the issue.   

“We have not taken a stance on this proposed school building tax, we also are in a listening point because the proposal has not yet passed the school board to be put on the ballot in November,” said Bass.

CARE says it will give the meeting results to the school board.

“Is there going to be a committee that decides the allocation of the funds and where these funds are going to be spent. As far as tonight and the answers coming out of this meeting, we had two school board members here, nobody here knows who’s going to decide where that money gets spent. We had over 30 people. All were articulate and serious and concerned about the education that our children in Beaufort County are getting,” said Rebecca Bass, CARE.

If you can’t make it to Thursday’s meeting on St. Helena Island, there will be two more, one next Wednesday on Hilton Head at Palmetto Electric Cooperative and another on March 30 in Bluffton at the Caddy’s Rose Hill Clubhouse.

These meetings are open to the public.

The school board will be discussing the tax in an upcoming meeting. If they approve the proposal, a referendum will go onto the November ballet.

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