Conservatives Of The Upstate meets the 2nd Thursday of each month @ 6:30PM.

Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Rd
Pickens SC 29671



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Monday, March 16, 2015

Why we can't trust those in charge of the Educational Structure in this state ...

While this article will only cover the past 65 years, it will depict the misleading, and in many cases, unconstitutional promises made by the South Carolina General Assemblies and Governors.  

Lets start first with funding of education. 

In 1950, Governor James Byrnes asked the people of South Carolina to approve a 3% sales tax for the purpose of building "separate but equal" schools in South Carolina.  This building program was supposed to eliminate racial advantages for whites and construct new schools where needed.  The US Supreme Court ruled against such a program.  The General Assembly took the people's 3% and used it as they pleased.  At the time that all this happened, the education system was financed by part of the income tax, a tobacco & alcohol tax, and the 3% sales tax.  But, when the politicians saw how much revenue the sales tax would bring in, they followed the 3% tax with another 1% sales tax.

Governor Riley, a Democrat from Greenville, succeeded in persuading the people to vote for the other 1% sales tax; again using "the children" as bait for the addition.  Soon, all money was put into a "general " account so that the powers that be in Columbia could dip their hands into our pocket book for schools and start projects completely unrelated to education.

Meantime, in Pickens County, school funding was controlled by the legislative delegation.  Of course the General Assembly could raise taxes because they were responsible for education under Article 11, Section 3 of the State Constitution.  This meant that the State Senator and elected members of the House of Representatives were the only other people that could raise taxes through "local legislation" and thus more revenue for the schools. "Local legislation" was a system of legislation that could be used when the legislation proposed only affected a single county.  All Legislators in the General Assembly would vote "yea" as a courtesy, but this procedure became unpopular to the politicians because the citizens still held the local state politicians responsible for tax increases.  The resolution to this problem was to give the Pickens School Board limited funding tied to some index like the CPI.  This solution was popular with both the legislative delegation who dodged the people's ire at tax increases, and at the same time, paved the way for teacher salary increases without going through the General Assembly.

Senator Larry Martin is quoted as saying "I don't want to be a super school board member".  He and our elected State representatives didn't want to live up to their constitutional responsibilities, and they could avoid any responsibility for the tax increases that were to come, as illegal as they are under Article 11 Section 3 of the Constitution.  This type of attitude has created havoc in the County and a debt of nearly $400,000,000.  It has put liberal citizens at odds with conservatives as teachers push for more local money and most of the people in the county feel they are taxed enough already.

Everytime politicians want more money, they use "our children" and their "schools" as bait to get it.  Along comes State Act 388: add 1% more sales tax and drop the property tax on owner occupied residences and We, the state government, will be responsible for all operating expenses of the schools.  It was a big fat lie.  This year alone, Pickens County was cheated out of at least $10,000,000 because the state failed to fund the proper amount for each student.  In addition to the 10 million underfunding,  We, the people have contributed 5% sales tax and a lottery over the years for education.  Under the Constitution, the State is responsible for education (Article 11, Section 3) not the counties.  If the state did their job, and lived up to their responsibilities, the people have put in 5% sales tax and the lottery to fund education K-12 adequately.

Our last topic is about the court system. The Supreme Court  judges are appointed by the General Assembly.  In turn, there have been questionable decisions made by the judges that affected school funding.  One decision is the Abbeville case where the judges used the term "minimally adequate" when referring to the quality of education that was to be provided by the state.  There is no such phrase in the Constitution.  A second example is that the Supreme Court accepted an affidavit from the top SCAGO official in the Colleton County case as being the best evidence, and decided the case where billions of dollars of local tax money was at stake.  This is just two cases where the merits of evidence were filed against statutory laws NOT constitutional laws. Alas, it's typical of the decsions made on school funding.  They are al
most always against the tax payer.

Junius Smith 
Conservatives Of The Upstate

Stay tuned for more on this topic ...

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