SoBoCo Tax Rate Among Highest in Area Districts

by Bruce Wallace

As the SoBoCo School District begins the 2016-2017 school year, the district’s school board will be affirming a tax rate that will make it one of the highest in the area.

The school board will meet on Thursday to approve a new tax rate of $5.18 per one hundred dollars – and increase from $5.03 – which was approved by nearly two-thirds of the voters last April.

The increase tax measure will pay for new classrooms at the Primary School and Elementary School, a new gym for the Primary School and a new workout center at the high school for physical education classes and athletics.

The new rate will be more than 20% higher than the state average, yet it will pay for much-needed classrooms as the district’s kindergarten has expanded to seven sections for 140 students. The senior class of 2016 included 133 graduates, the largest senior class ever at SoBoCo.

By comparison, SoBoCo patrons will spend more for their school district than every other area school except Columbia.

“It is the price we pay for growth,” said veteran school board member Joe Miller. “Our district continues to grow.”

SoBoCo Superintendent Chris Felmlee points out that the cost of a growing school district in its debt service. The district pays a hefty $1.43 in debt service on different bond issues to fund new construction.