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Beaufort County Schools: Bad Math

Smaller student populations equate to tax hikes? “Exponential” increases in costs? According to bureaucrats, “yes …”

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Government-run schools in Beaufort County, South Carolina have done an amazing job of creating unsafe learning environments and keeping porn on library bookshelves.

Educating students efficiently? That’s another story …

In 2015, the total student enrollment in Beaufort County was 21,381. This year, it is 21,465. That’s an increase of only eighty-four (84) new students … or 0.4 percent. By contrast, the population of Beaufort County has climbed from 174,673 to 194,581 over the same time period – an increase of 11.3 percent.

In other words, the population of the county is growing more than twenty times as fast as its student population.

What’s growing even faster than that? The price tag …

According to financial documents posted on the Beaufort County school district website, taxpayers are shelling out a whopping $320.4 million in the coming school year – an increase of 7.5 percent from the current year and a staggering increase of 32 percent from just four years ago.

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Where is that $22 million in additional money coming from? Straight out of the pockets of property owners – who will be hit by “a tax increase of 4.4 mills … to fully fund this (2024) budget.”

Of interest? The student population four years ago stood at 22,405 – which is actually 940 students (or 4.2 percent) below its current level.

In other words, Beaufort County is spending 32 percent more to educate four percent fewer students.

District leaders justified this massive spending increase – and corresponding surges in borrowing – by citing the “dissipating” impact of “disruptions” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wait … disruptions like government mask mandates? And required “remote instruction?” You know … all for a virus that was never even a threat to children?

District leaders indeed claimed these massive budget increases were justified because their student populations were beginning to return to “pre-Covid levels.”

“With student enrollment still increasing, compensation and costs related to school district operations have grown exponentially,” a budget document obtained by this media outlet noted.

(Click to View)

Beaufort County school district headquarters. (Facebook)

Seriously? Exponentially?

There are still fewer students in Beaufort County schools than there were four years ago. But educating them is somehow 32 percent more expensive? How in the hell does that math work? Only in “bureaucrat world” could smaller student populations possibly correspond with “exponential” growth in operating costs.

District officials also bizarrely claimed some of these increases were attributable to “schools returning to in-person learning.” Forgive me, but were these schools not educating (or attempting to educate) larger populations of students in person prior to Covid-19?

Taxpayers in Beaufort County have been subjected to some truly terrible governance this past year. In fact, there is currently a criminal investigation underway into shenanigans allegedly taking place within county government.

As county residents open their property tax bills to face yet another increase, they might consider asking questions about where all of that new money is going … and specifically why they are being compelled to pay more (much more, in fact) for less.

That reminds me … anyone with financial information like this from their home county is encouraged to reach out to this media outlet with the particulars (or hit us up on social media). Indeed, the genesis of this article was a post made by one of our followers on the social media platform X.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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1 comment

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Michael Covert Top fan December 26, 2023 at 8:43 am

Excellent article Will. I ran this story on my podcast and radio network and, obviously, gave you credits and props!

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