FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Contact: Neil Mellen, South Carolinians for Responsible Government (SCRG) Foundation, 803.212.1051
The last school year was dominated by news of massive budgets cuts to classrooms across South Carolina.
A closer look suggests the impact of cuts was often overstated, sometimes dramatically.
Newly released data from the State Department of Education indicates that both funding and spending actually rose across the state’s 85 public school districts. The Department’s “Finance and Operations” division published detailed records of the districts’ final revenues and expenditures for the 2008-2009 financial year late last week.
All told, the 85 public school districts reported $9 billion in revenues and $9.5 billion in expenditures. Based on a year-long average enrollment of 686,611 students, the schools spent an average of $13,880 per-pupil and took in $13,182 per-pupil. The gap between revenues and spending receipts is the result of transfers between funds within the districts.
These new numbers point to a major rise in public school spending, at a time when most parents assumed budgets were shrinking. The report indicates that on average districts spent $556 more per student in 2009 than in 2008, though 34 districts saw declines.
School districts receive money from local, state, and federal governments, as well as their own issuance of bonds and transfers from other agencies. The state portion of school funding in 2009 was $3.5 billion, down from $3.7 billion the year before. Despite the cuts, 51 districts were able to increase per-pupil spending through a mix of heightened local tax collections, federal funding, transfers between government agencies, and a spike in revenue from bonds. Others tapped into massive reserve funds and shifted allocations, though transfers accounted for less than eight percent of total school revenues.
Even the cuts to state aid were smaller than anticipated. Over the course of the school year, there were four cuts to the Education Finance Act (EFA), and five cuts to the Education Investment Act (EFA). The EFA is tied to the state’s General Fund, and the EIA consists of money collected through the state’s sales tax. The state still provided local schools with an average of $3,753 per-pupil in 2009.
State Superintendent Jim Rex claimed in March of 2009 that cuts had reached $365 million, insisting that public schools were “at-risk of significant damage.” The final report from the Department of Education indicates state aid in the form of EFA and EIA payments dropped $270 million from initial projections, or $394 per-student.
Federal funding for schools, the center of heated debate over South Carolina’s acceptance of stimulus money, played a limited role. Washington supplied just 8.4 percent of districts’ revenues in 2009.
Some districts now post details of their finances online but the size and complexity of these budgets remains a source of frustration for many transparency advocates. Local board members and state officials routinely exclude certain items in their budget discussions and reports. Revenue from bond issues, property sales, and government transfers are regularly omitted. So is spending on debt, interest, construction, pensions and legal services. When these numbers are extracted average school budgets appear as low as $9,800 per student, leading many parents to assume that education spending had stagnated or dropped.
“Teacher furloughs and cuts of $300 million sound heart wrenching, observed Randy Page, President of the SCRG Foundation. “But when so many school budgets are actually growing and total spending is over $13,800 per-student, there ought to be a reality check in terms where the money is really going.”
April 13, 2010 (Mauldin, SC) – The Jim Lee for Congress campaign has announced a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person(s) stealing campaign signs in the Upstate.
“Unfortunately, this sort of behavior is almost expected during a campaign, but this level of sign removal goes beyond usual tactics. It is escalating each week as we put out more signs,” stated Jim Lee. “It has become obvious to supporters that our campaign is being specifically targeted as we receive calls and emails nearly every day of signs being stolen out of their own front yards.”
Signs in Jim Lee’s front yard were stolen twice Easter week.
Other reports of missing signs are coming in from across the district from volunteers who put out signs and are noticing that all other candidate’s signs are still there. “Only Jim Lee’s were missing,” has been stated by several volunteers.
One volunteer hearing of the reward this morning stated, “$2500!! I’ve got coffee and a camera and I’m good to go!!”
The Lee Campaign will also offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons(s) responsible for hacking into the campaign website over Easter weekend causing the website to be down for several days. The campaign has not yet determined an amount or offered further details as they are still investigating the incident.
“Timing would indicate it is likely the same individuals involved in stealing the signs and hacking the website,” stated campaign consultant Kerry Wood, “We would also like to encourage any would-be sleuths to avoid confrontation with those responsible. Get your evidence; physical description of individuals responsible, vehicle description and license plate, and take video or photographs if possible. Then contact local law enforcement and our campaign at 688-2500.”
For more information on Jim Lee for Congress, please visit
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March 26, 2010
Contact: James Hicks, (864) 304-0682 email@example.com
FOUNTAIN INN, SC – State Senator and Fourth Congressional District candidate David Thomas will officially file for Congress with the Republican party on Monday. First Vice Chairman of the SCGOP and Greenville County GOP Chairman Patrick Haddon will be present for the filing. David Thomas announced his intention to run for Congress on June 6, 2009 at his home in Fountain Inn.
WHO: State Senator David Thomas
WHAT: David Thomas to officially file for Congress
WHERE: Greenville GOP Headquarters, 850 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville, SC 29609
WHEN: Monday, March 29, 2010 at 8:30 a.m.
Spartanburg Tea Party Meeting March 9 at Westside Library
Contact: Karen Martin – 864.249.0305
For Immediate Release: March 2, 2010
Spartanburg, SC — The Spartanburg Tea Party will hold its first meeting next Tuesday, March 9th at 7:00 PM at the Westside Library. The address is:
525 Oak Grove Road
Spartanburg, SC 29301-3538
Directions: From Spartanburg, take Reidville Road, cross Interstate 26, then take a right at the third light onto Oak Grove Road. The branch will be on the right.
The hour long meeting will have the following agenda:
- 1. Introductions and areas of interest/expertise
- 2. Issues you’d like to see the Spartanburg Tea Party focus on
- 3. Planning for Tax Day Tea Party in Spartanburg on April 15, first order of business will be to select a location, please bring suggestions
We look forward to meeting folks in the Spartanburg area! Please spread the word to friends and family who may want to join us. Any questions between now and next Tuesday, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 23 February 2010
Contact: Donna Hicks
Businessman John Moore will officially begin his campaign this Thursday, February 25, 2010, at noon inside the manufacturing facility for Blue Ridge Log Cabins. This will be open to the public and all are invited to attend.
With strong support from the Spartanburg business community, John Moore understands the need to recruit and retain quality jobs and has the experience and support to help make that happen.
In addition to economic development, Moore has pledged to listen to his constituents and take their concerns to the Statehouse.
“One of the most important things an elected official can do is to reach out into the communities they serve, and not just listen, but have a true understanding of situations which require attention,” Moore said. “It is our responsibility to put personal differences aside and work for what’s best for the people in our district.”
For more information on John Moore, please visit his campaign website; www.MooreForHouse.com.
To contact John Moore directly; phone: 864-597-9779; email: John@MooreForHouse.com