Horry Co. schools benefit from penny sales tax

Horry County, SC - By Chandi Lowry - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – School officials said students in Horry county are benefiting from the millions of dollars a local-option 1 cent sales tax generates.

The money is divided between three areas including the Horry County School District, Horry Georgetown Technical College and Coastal Carolina University.

Part of the $40 million generated from the tax is going toward putting smartboards in every elementary school in the Horry County School District.

Will Garland, chairman of the board for Horry County Schools, said a big chunk of the cash pays down debt on school buildings.

Also, when people decided to vote for the one cent sales tax, part of the deal was to lower property taxes for homeowners.

"Since that property tax mileage just disappeared, the 1 cent sales tax is taking the place of that property tax to pay for that debt," Garland said.

The first year taxes went from 28 mils to 20 mils.  Since then,  it has gone from 20 to 14 mils.

For example, if a person has a $100,000 home, you save about $56.

Garland said hopefully in Year 3, it will drop to 10 or 12 mils.

While homeowners are pocketing more money, the school district is laying out plans to spend about $50 million from the penny tax. The district wants to build a new elementary school for the already crowded Carolina Forest area.

School officials will also add classrooms to several buildings and keep students who take part in the early college high school program moving in the right direction.

The program is in conjunction with Horry Georgetown Technical College and allows students to get not only high school credit but two years of college credit, as well.

In addition to those plans, the district has about $5 million set aside for capitol improvement.

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