Aiken County penny sales tax option could improve education

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FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2014

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW) -- A study that was recently released sheds light on a number of issues facing Aiken County.

One of those issues is educational attainment and just how far Aiken County students are going in school. Statistics show the percentage of people over the age of 25 in the county that have a high school diploma in 2012 was at 84.4 percent. Meanwhile the national average was 85.7 percent. There was even a greater gap in the percentage of people who have college degrees with Aiken County at 23.9 percent and the entire country at 28.5 percent.

"We knew we had some strong areas," said Will Williams with the Economic Development Partnership. "We knew we had some areas in this community that probably needed a little bit more attention."

One of the things some leaders believe could help to solve the issue is a penny sales tax. If approved, it would essentially double the amount of money that the district has to renovate and refurbish the system's aging buildings.

"In my opinion I think we do need newer school facilities in Aiken County," Williams said.

The one cent tax has been discussed over and over again by state leaders. The proposal has already made it through the House of Representatives and next week will face Senate committees. If approved, voters will have the final decision in November.

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