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Florence One trustees raise tuition for out-of-district students

April 13, 2019 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence One School Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase Thursday for non-resident students.

Now the tuition for new nonresident students will be $3,000 per student. For returning nonresident students, the tuition for the first and second child in a family will be $1,500 per child, and for the third and fourth child in the family will be $750 per child.

There will be no additional cost to students for programs such as International Baccalaureate and special education classes.

If the parent has property within the district that is listed under the name of the child and the amount of property taxes is at least $300, then that amount will be deducted from the cost of tuition, said board Vice Chairwoman Trisha Caulder.

Board member Artie Buxton and Caulder worked on a committee to research the tuition increase and made the recommendation it.

The two also recommended that the money made from the tuition increase go toward pay raises for bus drivers and custodians.

Buxton said at first it might seem unfair to raise the tuition on nonresident students, but it is in the district’s power to do so.

“Our job, first and foremost, is responsibility to Florence School District 1,” Buxton said.

Caulder said it costs nearly $9,500 to educate a child in this district.

“You’re still getting a bargain in this,” Caulder said.

Caulder also said each year the board will take a look at the tuition costs in the district.

During the public participation section of the meeting, which took place before the vote, residents addressed the board about the rise in tuition prices.

Lynn Odom said she supports raising tuition, but she said the recommended amount was outrageous.

Another resident, Angie Powell, said she supports the rise in tuition costs.

“It costs far more than $550 to educate a child in this district, and we need to start charging accordingly,” Powell said.

During the meeting, the board also approved a resolution supporting teachers and support personnel.

“The heart of this is to let our teachers know, who have been advocating so strongly for all the teachers in South Carolina, that we support them, and we support them and their efforts as they advocate for their profession to their state legislature,” said Chairman Barry Townsend.

Townsend said the resolution was brought about by the recent talk in education reform in South Carolina.

During the discussion, on the resolution board member E.J. McIver asked why the district wanted to publish a resolution of support.

“It doesn’t have any teeth at all,” McIver said. “All it is saying is ‘we love you and we want the best for you,’ but are we actually doing that?”

[This article has been updated to reflect final action taken during the meeting.]