JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – A one-cent sales tax increase passed 6 years ago and has made more than $600 million for the Charleston County School District. This unique program has been on the books since 2010. It was extended in 2014.
The funding has been spread out across multiple projects within CCSD ranging from maintenance to new facilities to technology in classrooms.Now, the district is hopeful that taxpayers will vote to extend the One-Cent Sales Tax program this November.
“I can’t emphasize enough the capital maintenance program how successful that’s been,” said Jeff Borowy, The Chief Operating Officer for CCSD. “We’ve completed 118 projects in this program so far that includes roof replacements, HVAC replacements.”
CCSD is one of only a few school districts in the state to use the program.
“That sales tax program has been hugely effective in keeping our buildings in perfect working order,” said Borowy.
It pulls one cent from almost everything purchased in the county, excluding food and a few other items, and the money can be only be put towards capital projects.
One project, funded by the program, is a brand new school for middle schoolers on James Island. Camp Road Middle School is one of five new facilities that opened this year.
“They’re amazed they’re just in awe they come in and their eyes are open and they’re just awestruck by it because the hallways are so much larger than what they’re used to it’s so much brighter than what they’re used to, it’s obviously cleaner than what they’re used to,” said David Parler, the principal of Camp Road Middle School.
More technology, added science labs and an improved cafeteria and gymnasium are just a few of the amenities of the new $51 million facility.
Additions like those could be seen in the future at other schools around the district.
If the tax extension does pass, the district already has several projects planned for the next phase.
“We’ve got a good list of projects,” said Borowy. “Our focus is on early education. We opened our first early ed center in North Charleston and we’ve got three more of those on the projects list.”
Right now, we’re in phase four of the One-Cent Sales Tax program. Phase four ends in 2022. The renewed tax extension would start phase five in 2023 ending in 2028.