S.C. Can Renovate, Build Schools With Interest-Free Bonds

Fri June 12, 2009 - Southeast Edition

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina school districts can apply for a piece of up to $320 million for construction and renovation under a bill passed by legislators in the waning minutes of the session.

The bill says districts can apply to the state Department of Education to issue interest-free bonds.

School advocates said the federal stimulus package created the new bond category, and the legislation gave the agency authority to allot the money.

It allows bond holders to receive a federal tax credit equal to the interest they would otherwise receive.

A federal provision automatically allots Charleston County $13.5 million, and Greenville County $15 million. The remaining districts can split $131 million this year, with 60 percent of that specifically for rural schools. Roughly the same amounts are expected next year.