Somebody call Extreme Hoarders … because there’s a costly addiction that needs to be addressed in South Carolina.
The Palmetto State’s eighty-plus government-run school districts hoarded a record $965 million in “reserve” fund money in FY 2012 – a whopping 35 percent increase from FY 2009.
Amazing, isn’t it? For those of you keeping score at home that’s nearly $1 billion sitting in these districts’ bank accounts – all while GOP and Democratic politicians in the S.C. General Assembly complain about not having enough money to fund what is generally regarded as the nation’s worst government-run school system.
The biggest hoarder was Greenville County’s school district – which now has a cash reserve of $80 million (up from $48 million in FY 2009). Meanwhile Charleston County’s cash reserve has more than doubled from $20 million four years ago to $55 million today.
Smaller school districts got in on the action, too. Kershaw County – home to S.C. Senator Vincent Sheheen – saw its balance climb from $1 million in 2010 to $7.2 million last year. Meanwhile Anderson School District No. 5 saw its balance soar from $6.4 million in 2009 to $18.7 million.
This massive stockpiling of cash comes as lawmakers and district leaders claim they “can’t afford” to provide parents with expanded choices in the education marketplace – a claim that’s baffling considering they manage to subsidize union dues and taxpayer-funded vacations for educrats every year.
It also comes as academic achievement in South Carolina remains stagnant following a six-year free fall.
Proponents of this bureaucratic gluttony argue that districts are being “fiscally conservative” by keep large stores of cash on hand for a rainy day – although we’ve argued repeatedly that this logic doesn’t apply.
Why not? Because unlike small businesses struggling to make ends meet, government-run school districts can bank on guaranteed revenue – and usually guaranteed funding increases – each year.
To see how much cash your government-run district is hoarding, click on the spreadsheet below …