Public to vote on Beaufort Co. penny tax in November

Public to vote on Beaufort Co. penny tax in November

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Despite some public outcry, the Beaufort County School Board voted yes to placing a penny tax on the November ballot.

It's been the topic of discussion for several months now, whether the sales tax in Beaufort County should be increased by that 1 cent to help raise money for much needed schools and improvements.

Out of the 31 schools currently in the district, at least 10 of them are at capacity and ineligible for accepting school choice transfers. The money raised by the tax would help fund the building of new schools to help accommodate the estimated 300 new students enrolled in the district each year.

The tax would be in place for 15 years and would generate at least $480 million. That would be divided between Beaufort County, USC-Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry.

However, some local groups like "Citizens Advocating Responsible Education" are opposed to the penny tax and because of those concerns, the school board decided to make the decision public.

"And I'm sure they understand how important these repairs and maintenance and new schools, especially in the growing communities are, so ultimately it's up to them, the public and not me as an individual school board member or anyone else. So that's the reason we brought it out for the public to decide how they want to fund these items," said Evva Anderson, Beaufort County School Board.

The vote will take place in November. If it does not pass, the school board still has some options to generate the money.

Recent Census Bureau numbers show that Beaufort County is the 12th fastest growing community in the country. That means that over the next 10 years, the school district could see at least 3,000 additional students.

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