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SCIWAY News, No. 33 – February 2001

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SOUTH CAROLINA STUDENT LOAN CORPORATION

If you have a friend or family member who will be attending college next year, please tell them about the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation. The SLC is a non-profit organization that has been helping South Carolinians attend college for 25 years. You can find their Web site at http://www.scstudentloan.org/, and their toll-free phone number is 800-347-2752.

In This Issue

  1. Businesses Can Now Track SC Bid Requests Online
  2. New and Notable South Carolina Web Sites
  3. Two SCIWAY News Readers Contribute Revolutionary War Resources
  4. New SCIway Advertisers
  5. Student Web Design Contest Attracts 70+ SC Teams
  6. Upcoming Festivals and Events
  7. PRT Offers Free 2001 South Carolina Vacation Kit
  8. Aiken Republican Responds to Last Month's "Dilemma" Article
  9. New SC Maps Show Big Differences in Local School Property Taxes

1. Businesses Can Now Track SC Bid Requests Online

I'm happy to report than an increasing number of South Carolina government agencies, school districts, and colleges are posting their requests for bids and proposals online. So many, in fact, that we have added a new group of SCIway pages that will make it easier for SC businesses to monitor who's requesting bids and proposals for what.

You can explore these new "Requests for Bids and Proposals" pages by going to http://www.sciway.net/bus/bids.html. So far we have found 27 SC government agencies and schools that post bids and proposals online ... and 20 more that post other useful purchasing information such as procedures, forms, and contact information. A few also post "surplus sales" notices.

We hope that many South Carolina businesses will find these pages useful enough to bookmark–and that organizations posting their bids and proposals online will benefit from increased competition.

If you would like us to add a link to your organization's purchasing page to SCIway, simply send its Web address to service@sciway.net. There's no charge for these listings (even if your organization is a business), and there's no charge for using this new SCIway service.

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

2. New and Notable South Carolina Web Sites

Crepe Myrtles ... beautiful trees that are often pruned too much
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/trees/hgic1009.html
Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties - new site
http://www.smartarts.info
Directory of SC Organizations Fighting Racism, Intolerance, and Bigotry
http://www.scetv.org/solutions/state%20resources.html - page no longer exists
Landscape Design for Energy Efficiency - free from SC Energy Office
http://www.energy.sc.gov/publications/EB%20Landscaping%20for%20energy%20efficiency.pdf
Old Santee Canal Park - Moncks Corner
http://www.oldsanteecanalpark.org
SC High School Alumni Web Sites - please write us if yours is not listed
http://www.sciway.net/edu/k12/alumni.html
South Carolina Maritime Heritage Foundation - Charleston
Spirit of South Carolina' Tall Ship Project
http://www.scmaritime.org - site no longer exists
Sumter Speedway - The Toughest Dirt Track in the South
http://www.sumterspeedway.com
Team Pegasus - Spartanburg County students who build solar race cars
http://www.teampegasus.org - site no longer exists
Tour of South Carolina's Rivers - 14 pages of photographs with text
http://water.dnr.state.sc.us/water/envaff/river/tour/scrivtour.html - page no longer exists

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

3. Two SCIWAY News Readers Contribute Revolutionary War Resources

During the past month, two of our readers have contributed Web pages about the American Revolution to the SCIway Web site.

The first page (http://www.sciway.net/hist/amrev/loyalists.html) provides a list of property owners whom South Carolina's Rebel Assembly classified as British Loyalists. The 229 gentlemen listed are grouped into six interesting and humorous categories.

This page was contributed to SCIway by Jerry Braddock, a retired Westvaco mainframe computer technician and supervisor who now lives in the West Ashley area of Charleston. One of his ancestors was a notable Georgia Loyalist.

The second page (http://www.sciway.net/hist/amrev/engagements.html) lists the date and location of more than 130 military engagements fought in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. This information was contributed to SCIway by Mary Jo Jones, a very special lady who lives in Manning, close to the Clarendon County Library and Archives. Mary Jo loves to do historical research as much as anyone I know, and she does a great job of answering questions posted on Ask SCIway.

If you would like to add South Carolina information you've collected to SCIway, or if you know of a link we should add, please write me at rod.welch@sciway.net.

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

4. New SCIway Advertisers

Essence of Beaufort - a beautiful book that celebrates SC's Lowcountry
http://www.beaufortonline.com/book/essence.html - page no longer exists

Kingdom Cards - personalized birth announcements and baptism invitations
http://www.kingdomcards.com - site no longer available

The SailNet Store - where boaters can choose from 40,000 items online
http://shop.sailnet.com/ - site no longer available

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

5. Student Web Design Contest Attracts 70+ SC Teams

So far, more than 70 student design teams have registered for SCIWAY's "Teach South Carolina" Web design contest. We have teams from elementary, middle, and high schools ... and public, private, and home schools. All of these teams are developing Web sites about South Carolina.

There is no deadline for entering the contest, but the final version of all student Web sites must be uploaded to SCIWAY's server by 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 31. The winners will be announced in the late April issue of SCIWAY News.

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

6. Upcoming Festivals and Events

For the latest information on upcoming South Carolina events, please see http://www.sciway.net/calendar.html.

Clemson Shakespeare Festival - Mar 1-8 - plays, films, workshops
Reedy River Run - Greenville - 10K run - Mar 3
Lowcountry Instructional Technology Conference - Charleston - Mar 7-9
Conference on SC Folklore, Folklife, & Traditional Arts - Cola - Mar 10
Festival of Houses and Gardens - Charleston - Mar 15 - Apr 14
St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival - North Myrtle Beach
South Carolina Hurricane Conference - Myrtle Beach - Mar 20-23
Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic - Columbia - State Fairgrounds - Mar 23-25
Cultivating Delight: Gardening in SC - Mepkin Abbey - Mar 24
Charleston Spring Plant and Flower Festival - Ladson - Mar 29-Apr 1
Columbia International Festival - Columbia - Mar 29-Apr 1
Carolina Cup Races - Camden - Mar 31
Midlands Plant and Flower Festival - Apr 5-8 - Columbia
Allendale County Spring Cooter Fest - Apr 6-7 - Allendale
Three Rivers Music Festival - Apr 6-8 - Columbia - Congaree Vista
WorldCom Classic - Apr 9-15 - Hilton Head Island - PGA golf tournament
SC Book Festival and Antiquarian Book Fair - Columbia - Apr 21-22

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

7. PRT Offers Free 2001 South Carolina Vacation Kit

South Carolina's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is currently making a special effort to encourage South Carolinians to explore and vacation in our own home state.

As part of this campaign, PRT is offering a free 2001 SC Vacation Kit, which includes its travel magazine Smiles, a 192-page travel guide that fits in your car's glove compartment, and a South Carolina highway map.

To get your 2001 SC Vacation Kit, simply call 1-888-SC-SMILES. But order soon, as delivery takes 3 to 4 weeks.

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

8. Aiken Republican Responds to Last Month's "Dilemma" Article

Last month's maps showing that South Carolina's wealthier, whiter counties are Republican strongholds–and my comments concerning the ability of our new Republican-controlled General Assembly to improve the quality of life in our poorer, Democratic-voting counties–attracted lots of email. One of the most thoughtful messages was from Tony Gouge, an Aiken engineer who has lived in South Carolina for 20 years. Tony spends much of his spare time trying to keep up with his two daughters, and he's also an Elder in his Presbyterian Church and active in the Aiken County Republican Party. Here's his response:

In the last issue of the SCIway newsletter, I had several objections to the article titled "Four SC Maps: the Bush Vote, Income, Race, and a Dilemma." I voiced these to Rod Welch. Rod graciously offered to give me an opportunity to provide an alternative opinion.

As a Republican, but foremost as a South Carolinian, I looked at the data presented in the four maps, and came to very different conclusions. If you use the same logic presented in the earlier article (i.e., that the party in power sends money to counties that support it, and that money improves the ratings in that county), then why do the counties that remain solidly Democratic still rank so low, in spite of the Democrats' controlling both houses of the state legislature from Reconstruction until recently? You have to conclude that either the Democrats did a lousy job of rewarding their supporters, or that throwing money at the problems in these counties isn't the answer to the problems. At least you have to conclude that what we've been doing hasn't been working.

We need to remember that we're all South Carolinians, Republicans and Democrats alike. Improving the rankings of the state in the critical quality-of-life areas of education, health, and crime benefits us all.

So, how do we improve these numbers? To improve education, do we spend state money on local school systems? Technical colleges? Or on the state university system? Do we spend money in areas where we can see the fastest short-term improvement? Or where we can build a foundation for long-term excellence, but the numbers won't show improvement in the near term?

As you can see, the answers aren't easy. And the funding resources to make these improvements are finite. The decisions, for whichever party is in power, are difficult.

The challenges for the Republicans are indeed great. The problems that plague the poorer counties of the state have been around for a long time. The solutions are not obvious.

Unfortunately, I don't have any easy answers for how the state legislature should attack these problems. But, I hope that we, as South Carolinians, can join in this debate and find the best decisions for the state to improve our economy, our education, reduce our crime rates, and improve health care for all of our citizens.

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33

9. New SC Maps Show Big Differences in Local School Property Taxes

UPDATE: The maps noted in this article are no longer available.

This month's maps focus on local school taxes in South Carolina. These taxes are calculated by multiplying property valuations by school district tax rates (mills).

If you go to this page– http://www.sciway.net/maps/data/ –you can see how our state's 86 school districts differ with respect to

    - total school property taxes levied per student
    - assessed property valuations per student
    - property tax rates
District rankings are shown below each map. All of the data are from the latest edition of "Rankings of the Counties and School Districts of South Carolina." This excellent statistical resource is published annually by the South Carolina Department of Education (http://ed.sc.gov/).

We've also used color to construct a three-dimensional table that compares SC school districts in terms of total school property taxes (for current operations and bond payments), property valuations, and tax rates. You can find this table at

    http://www.sciway.net/maps/schools/localtaxestable-1998.html
and you may want to print it on a color printer.

This is what I've learned from the four maps and the table:

  1. Total local school property taxes per student differ greatly ... from $753 in Clarendon 2 to $6,662 in York 2.

  2. Local tax revenues per student are lowest is the Pee Dee region (northeastern SC).

  3. Property valuations per student also vary widely ... from $5,499 in Clarendon 3 to $46,103 in Beaufort County and $54,638 in York 2. The higher a district's property values, the greater its ability to support public education.

  4. Property valuations are highest along the coast, around Columbia, and in some districts in the northern tier of Upstate counties.

  5. When urban counties are divided into two or more school districts, there is always a wide spread in their per student property valuations.

  6. Within each of the four property valuation levels (see table), some districts have low tax rates and some have high tax rates. Tax rates are a good measure of the effort district residents make to support public education.

  7. In most cases richer districts generate much more tax revenue per student than poorer districts, even when the poorer districts have much higher tax rates.

  8. Columbia area school districts--richer and poorer--make a much greater effort to support public education than do the Charleston County and Greenville County districts. For example:

      - Richland 1's per student valuation is about the same as Charleston's and Greenville's, but because its tax rate is higher, it provides its schools $1,000 more per student. You can do a lot with $1,000 more per student.

      - Lexington 2, Lexington 5, Newberry, and Richland 2 have per student valuations roughly $6,000 lower than Charleston's and Greenville's. But all four provide their schools more tax funds per student.

      - Lexington 1 and Lexington 3 have valuations that are half Charleston's and Greenville's, yet they provide their schools almost as much money per student.

I don't know why Columbia area residents make such a greater effort to support public education. But I do know that per capita income in the Columbia metro area is significantly higher than in Greenville and especially Charleston. And given Columbia's higher level of support for education, this income gap is likely to grow.

As almost any Chamber of Commerce official will tell you, the key to attracting higher paying jobs is to develop a well educated work force. And while some people say that money can't solve our state's education problems, almost any corporate executive will tell you that money can buy the resources and the leadership we need to improve our schools and help our students be competitive. That's the way business works, and that's the way education can work too.

Our next maps will focus on the distribution of state funds among South Carolina's 86 school districts.

Top of SCIWAY News No. 33


Copyright © 2001 SCIway, LLC. SCIWAY News is written by Rod Welch and Robin Welch of James Island, South Carolina–with a lot of help from people throughout South Carolina. ISSN: 1527-3903. Direct circulation: 42,000+

To subscribe to SCIWAY News, send a one-word message that says "subscribe" to news@sciway.net. To unsubscribe, send an "unsubscribe" message to this same address. If your email address changes, please send your old and new addresses to news@sciway.net.

The SCIWAY News mailing list is not loaned or sold to anyone.

News, new Web site addresses, and comments and questions about this newsletter should also be sent to news@sciway.net.

Back issues of SCIway news can be found at http://www.sciway.net/sn/.

SCIWAY, pronounced "sky-way," is an acronym for South Carolina Information Highway.


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