SC

Extreme Hoarding: SC Schools Hold Onto Record $965 Million

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…

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 …

2012 GOVERNMENT-RUN SCHOOL DISTRICT FUND BALANCES (.xls)

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30 comments

Bob G October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

The (not so) funny part is these school districts will raise the millage rate to get more money to fund whatever non-learning crap the local developer tells them to fund.

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loisdeboid October 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

So why ARE they doing it?

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Nölff October 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Apparently to force children into Communism and Islam.

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loisdeboid October 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Well, that explains it, then! Thank you, since Sic not only doesn’t seem to want, but seems to actually resent being asked, to give any hint of the thinking behind his fevered rantings.

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WTH Caller October 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

The only question i have is the money in reserve from the bonds that were approved and in the language it is said for the money to be put in reserve? Because if it isn’t and this money left over from the budget, then it should go back into the general fund. Agencies should not be able to keep money left in its budget. THIS IS TAX MONEY NOT THEIR MONEY. If they have that much left over in their budget then they are padding their bugets and someone should be taking a closer look. Take for example the amount of money wasted on the River Bluff High School. Every member of that school board should be removed for approving such a budget and school with so much wasted space and over-the-top common areas. The land alone with improvements should have been the first red flag. Someone on the board made some money on that deal. There is no way that land should have been used. The danger alone in the area off of the Saluda river is a red flag. Look at the studies conducted around homeland security and see the dangers. There is a presentation that Lex Co Sheriff’s department conduted on the lake murray dam and the damage area below the dam. The destruction from the water would wipe out that school.

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CNSYD October 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm

You forgot that a meteor could also fall on the school.

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varga October 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

It would be irresponsable for a school district to not set aside reserve funds. The real question that needs to be asked, is what is the appropriate amount of reserve funds? The article indicates the Greenville school district has the largest reserve. Well really no surprise there as this is the largest district in the state and it would reason would have the largest reserve. The only way the raw reserve data could be interpreted in a usefull manner would be to compute the reserve as a percentage of the annual budget. Another usefull measure would be to divide the number of students into the reserve amount so a per student reserve could be determined.

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CNSYD October 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Really now. You expect Sic Willie to do that? It would destroy his hypothesis.

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Will Folks aka Sic October 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

We addressed your point in the article. You clearly learned reading comprehension at a SC government-run school ;)

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CNSYD October 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm

That tripe is “addressing” the point? All you say is that big districts have larger funds than small districts. What a surprise. Varga asks about the reserve as a percentage of their annual budget. Exactly where is that hidden in your article?

Thanks for the new dollar for the jar.

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sweepin October 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm

There’s no lack of reading comprehension there. There is, however, a lack of data, data clarity and cogent argument for your point; if there is a point.

Your stack of numbers clearly doesn’t make a point or a case for a point. Neither does your narrative without same.

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9" October 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Don’t worry.No matter where your kids go to school,they’ll be just as dumb as you.Bad genes,dude.

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CNSYD October 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

$3 dollars more for the government-run jar. My “reserve” fund is growing by leaps and bounds.

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Jay Ellington October 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Meanwhile, I am expected to purchase hand sanitizer, tissues and various school supplies for the good of the classroom. Can I just tell them to dip into the reserve for my portion?

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Smirks October 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Since you’re buying their tissues, might as well spring for the lotion, right?

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jimlewisowb October 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

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??u??s?ss? ?o? ??q??? p??oq ?oo??s ???o? ?no? ????uo? u??? s??? bu?p??? ??qno?? ???? no? ??

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Smirks October 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Or press Ctrl + Alt + Down.

?????ou o? ???q ?q ??,no? pu? dn + ??? + ???? ss??d ¿??n?s ??,no? ?? ???? ?,uop ‘?o

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Squishy123 October 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Yet I continue to pay increasing taxes so my poor, poor Lexington County schools can lay off employees.

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Ralph Hightower October 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Spend the damned money instead of asking for more from us!

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vicupstate October 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Reserves are needed and are no doubt required to satisfy bond holders, and pay annualized expenses when revenues from property taxes are primarily paid at YEAR END.
The 35% increase since 2009 would roughly equal the inflation and population growth since then. As usual, FITS writes about shit he knows nothing about and throws around numbers to support his phony ‘scandal’ meme.

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sweepin October 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm

FITS mode of operation is to throw shit against the computer monitor and see how much will stick. Depending on the day of the week and the percentage of half literate and unread sycophants reading, he ranges from zero to about 2%.

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Anne B October 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm

vicupstate – show us documents, links, or any other proof that show reserves (our money) of this scale are required to be held by districts so they can borrow money. You can’t. You are clearly part of why our public education system is not about educating children anymore.

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vicupstate October 23, 2013 at 6:12 am

I am not an expert on the subject, as I can assure, neither are you. If FITS were a journalist, instead of a propagandist, HE would do the research. But then he doesn’t promise or even attempt to be “fair or balanced’.

I do know that reserves are required for bondholders and that it determines in part the credit ratings.

Greenville has a $485 million annual budget. $80mm is about 16% of that. The last construction program that the district completed was over $1 Billion. That was financed with debt and $80 million is only 8% of that. That does not sound excessive to me. It sounds very responsible. Maybe that is why the district has AAA credit (which means a lower interest rate).

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Charles October 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Richland 2 has to ask County Council for their money. But, first they tell the County admin how much they are seeking from the county (over and above state and other funds). Then, based on the assessed value of the school district, the admin will tell them the millage rate that will bring in the revenue that the district says is required to run the district. OK… so, as always, that’s how it started this year.

But when it came time for the Council to approve the millage rate (which would bring in the dollars the district said they needed to operate the district), the admin said that based on a re-calculation, the district’s millage rate request would actually bring in MORE money than the district wanted to run their system. The district’s bean counter then pleaded with Council members asking them not to reduce the millage rate saying they could put the extra money (our tax dollars) in their RESERVE account (aka slush fund) for a rainy day… noting no specific needs. Most, but not all, council members smiled and said. “Sure, anything else?”

A little bit here and a little bit there has added up to a lot. Their RESERVE now over 30 million :)

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BIN News Editorial Staff October 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Did you hear about the new board game sweeping the USA?

It’s called “Politics.”

There are Three pieces for players.

The Democratic Player is a Donkey.

The Republicrat Player is an Elephant.

The Tea-Bugger player is a bug us the arse of the Republicrat Player.

sic(k) willie, “…you ignorant slut.” :)

You keep wanking this totally discredited carpet-bugger argument against responsible and honest public education financial management.

(Our Funding Editor made us use the term “wanking” because she said it will make sure everyone knows what you are doing. You know: “wanking” to Tea-Buggers.)

Do the math, ‘…you ignorant slut,” and you will have to admit (if you were honest) that public schools in S.C. are taking very responsible financial management steps.

“Hoarding?” BS. What a claim from sic(k) willie the “whore’der.”

Only wackos and carpet-buggers pay attention to sic(k) willie.

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The Colonel October 22, 2013 at 4:42 am

…Only wackos and carpet-buggers pay attention to sic(k) willie

Yet we find your tripe here frequently

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The Colonel October 22, 2013 at 4:39 am

A reserve or $965 million amounts to about $1,380 a kid in our state schools – doesn’t seem all that excessive to me. Greenville County is a model for school board management in this state (yes, that may not be saying a whole lot) and their dollar per student equals roughly $1,142 so “…The biggest hoarder… is slightly below the state “hoarding” average. Beats the hell out of running a deficit.

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pj October 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm

I’D RATHER HAVE THE $1,380 FOR EACH OF MY CHILDREN IN MY OWN RESERVE ACCOUNT — NOT THE DISTRICT’S. IT’S A SLUSH FUND PURE AND SIMPLE

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The Colonel October 23, 2013 at 2:01 am

You prepared to stroke the check for a damaged school roof, wrecked school bus, emergency infrastructure repair or lawsuit?

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idiotwind October 22, 2013 at 9:44 am

useful info. dumb-ass analysis. 1. 80 mil is a few months payroll in G’ville. 2. You begin your sample in the year budgets were slashed. 3. how can districts confidently run at a balance when they don’t know what the morons in the legislature might do next?

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