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Likely Voters Turned Off By School Referendum

Charleston Trident Association of Realtors poll shows that likely voters would vote against Dorchester Two's proposed referendum.

In a poll asking voters if they would increase their property taxes to pay for school improvements, the majority of particpants have said they would vote against a Dorchester County School District Two proposed referendum in the fall.

The April 17-19 poll surveyed 400 respondents, of whom 43 percent labeled themselves Republicans, 24 percent labeled themselves Democrats and 32 percent labeled themselves Independents. Charleston Trident Association of Realtors sponsored the poll. 

Half of respondents were asked to respond to a lower millage rate increase of $72 per $100,000 and the other half were asked to respond to a higher millage rate increase of $152 per $100,000. In the lower increase, 57 percent of respondents said they would vote against it or lean toward voting against it. In the higher increase, 62 percent of respondents said they would vote against it or lean toward voting against it.

 for an owner-occupied home paying the county's 4 percent rate (non-owner occupied homes at 6 percent would pay $126 per $100,000). The proposed referendum wasn't set until after the polling took place, nearly a month before hand.

According to Dorchester County Auditor J.J. Messervy, an owner-occupied home in the limits of Summerville currently pays $685.20 per $100,000, adjusted with property tax relief but not including fees. A non-owner-occupied home in town pays $2,095.20 per $100,000, adjusted with property tax relief but not including fees.

Of the 400 voters responding, 81 percent said they would rate the school district as only fair to excellent. Only 7 percent said it was "poor." 

Here are some other statistics on those polled:

  • 18 percent of respondents were over the age of 64
  • 58 percent were college graduates
  • 92 percent own the home they live in
  • 94 percent answered they were "almost certain" to vote in the fall
maizenbluedoc June 07, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Maybe it is time for taxation for schools to be linked with educational progress. Too many chiefs and not enough indians in the school system draining the money intended for education. Every year the school systems need more money, and every year South Carolina in at the bottom of the barrrel in educational achievement. If I recall correctly, about 75% of taxes collected is used for education. Maybe the educators (?) in charge should take a few courses in budgeting before asking for ore money. Most people don't object to increased taxes for education if they see results, but the school system appears content with the status quo. Want more money.....show us progress.
Gretchen June 07, 2012 at 11:52 AM
MORE PEOPLE MEANS HIGHER TAXES ... and crowded schools. When the population increases, it makes sense the schools need more money. Pretty simple.
Paul Culver June 07, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Maybe I'm off base, but the problem I see with DD2 is they seem to be disconnected from what's happening in the economy and to the people who pay the taxes that pay for the schools needs. I mean, I know it would be nice to build a new School of the Arts and do much needed improvements around DD2, but businesses are struggling and Dorchester County seems bent on spending on things like park property and other things that could certainly wait in my opinion. Non-owner occupied real estate rates more than triple what owner occupied are, all while our real estate values have tanked? I know the schools have operated on reduced budgets for a while now, but so have those of us who have businesses and income that rely on the economy, which has not been real good in case those whose income doesn't haven't noticed. I applaud DD2 for doing a great job with less, but the economic environment is not better, in my opinion, and with input costs, taxes, and unemployment insurance spiking, it is difficult to agree to even higher taxes until we get some kind of improvement in employment when more folks will be contributing to the money pot and when it will be easier to absorb these tax increases. Right now, with the economy and unemployment what it is in Dorchester County, there seems to be more people riding in the cart than pulling it. And the people pulling the cart are getting tired.
Stephanie June 07, 2012 at 12:29 PM
As is the case for most school districts in the nation, a thorough examination of problems and issues is called for. We have to face some tough realities about the way American schools are operated before we throw more money at the problem. If I had a full understanding of the problems and the way more money would solve those problems, I'd be more likely to support a tax increase
Michael Stone June 09, 2012 at 01:55 PM
First get back to tax funded public education, reading, writing and math... to many programs average tax payer does not know about going on in tax funded public school. The cradle to grave mentality needs to go! Head start and other babysitting programs captured by the tax payer but not afforded to all. Their is so much waste and non-sense spending in Public School As for taxing I am still waiting payback from Dortchester county who assessed my home after the market crashed knowing darn good an well my home was not worth what they assessed it for, claiming to use some calculation 2008 when the market was booming... explain this one that know one will address

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