Off The Wall
On The Record
Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield
2005 Crime Stats
& Audio Updates
PO Box 972
State and Federal
Local Political Parties
Chamber of Commerce
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
past articles please visit our Archives
to the Editor
Piedmont Tech President refutes claims of funding dollars
posted April 8, 2009
It has been brought to my attention that numerous issues have been
raised over the past several weeks regarding Piedmont Technical
College’s presence in Edgefield County. I think it is important
for each reader and citizen of Edgefield to understand that no one has
attempted to contact the college to ascertain the facts.
With that in mind, it’s safe to assume that engaging in a factual
discussion regarding each of these issues was never the intent of these
conversations. In truth, some of the statements could be
characterized as willfully inaccurate. As president of the college I
feel compelled to address each of these misstatements of fact to set
the record straight.
There seems to be some confusion about what kind of organization the
college is. Piedmont Technical College is a State Institution of
Higher Education that was created by an act of the South Carolina
General Assembly in 1963:
In order to fulfill the purposes and findings stated in Section 1 of
1963 Act No. 243, there is hereby created the Piedmont Technical
Education and Training District, consisting of the Counties of
Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry and
Saluda which shall be controlled and managed by a commission known as
the Piedmont Technical Education Commission, and hereinafter called the
"Commission." (S.C. Code Ann. € 59-53-1210)
Another point of discussion has been that Piedmont Technical College
and the Edgefield County Government have no lawful relationship and
that “Edgefield County Government has long passed their agreed funding
promise… and that the free money should just keep flowing.” Again, this
is a dramatic misstatement.
Section 59-53-1210 of the Official Code Annotated of South Carolina
states: “The share of each participating county in the operating
expenses of the district shall be determined by agreement between the
district commission and the respective county governing bodies.”
Annually, each county in the college’s service area is presented with a
budget request for their share of the colleges operating expenses,
which is determined based on the number of students enrolled from each
county. The request for Edgefield County for fiscal year 2009 was
$148,511. The Edgefield County Council did pass a budget which included
$85,816 for their portion of the operating expenses--$62,695 less than
the requested amount. For fiscal year 2010, the budget includes
only $45,000--$103,511 less than requested. The total appropriation
from Edgefield County has never been as high as the $90,000 figure
mentioned in recent reports.
A thorough examination of the figures above and South Carolina Statute
begs the question of how anyone could come to the conclusion that
County Administrator John Pettigrew added additional funds. To argue
that these funds are inappropriate is pure fantasy.
Piedmont Technical College makes a large investment in Edgefield County
annually. The Edgefield County Center’s operating budget for
fiscal year 2009 is $366,533. When you compare the investment of
Edgefield County to the investment of Piedmont Technical College, you
can see that the college’s investment is $280,717 over and above the
funding the county provides.
In addition to the annual budget required to operate the center,
Piedmont Technical College has invested over $1,000,000 to develop the
original Edgefield Center and the Center for Creative Economies.
Mr. Bettis Rainsford has made two donations of property to Piedmont
Technical College. The first donation in 1998 resulted in the
college opening the original Edgefield County Center. In 2005,
Mr. Rainsford donated additional property adjacent to the center where
the Center for Creative Economies was established. This center
houses the Piedmont Technical College Edgefield Pottery Program.
Without the vision and generosity of Mr. Rainsford, these students
would have to drive the 70 mile round trip between Edgefield and
Greenwood every day to attend college.
Piedmont Technical College has never paid rent to Mr. Rainsford. Any
assertion that the college has is misinformation at best or an
intentional misstatement of fact at the worst.
These factual distortions are a distraction from the true issue at
hand: whether Edgefield County values the transformative power of
affordable access to higher education in their community.
Through the end of this year’s spring term, over 200 Edgefield County
residents are pursuing degrees from Piedmont Technical College. A large
percentage of these students attend classes only at the Edgefield
County Center. In addition to these students, the college has
served over 900 students at the center or at their place of employment
through the college’s Economic Development and Continuing Education
All of these students are receiving the training and education they’ll
need to drive Edgefield’s economy in the future. Although South
Carolina’s economic development strategy and success in the past hinged
on three factors—cheap land, cheap labor, and low taxes—recent history
illustrates that these elements are no longer sufficient to ensure
financial and job security.
Today, both of these are attained based on individual’s level of
knowledge and skill. Over 85% of South Carolina’s current jobs and even
more of those in the future will require some form of higher
We are in a new economic era, “The Knowledge Economy,” an economy that
is driven by technological innovation in how we live, work, and
play. Our success as a nation and as communities in this new era
will be determined by our capacity to educate all citizens to their
maximum potential. The level of education that we settle for as
individuals, communities, and our nation will determine an absolute
upper limit on our economic prosperity. It could be said that
education is the coin of the real in today’s global economy and the key
for success for today and the future.
So, what we should be debating are the consequences of not investing
for the future. Yes times are hard and hard decisions have to be
made. However those decisions need to be made looking forward,
rather than focusing on the defunct strategies of the past. It’s
precisely when economic times are hard that continued investment in
education is most imperative.
L. Ray Brooks, Ed.D
Editor's note: Referrals to the funds to Piedmont Tech in previous
articles and opinions were "rounded" figures and are consistant with
those presented and voted on by the County Council.
© Copyright 2009
original material is property of
EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed
without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
JAM Straight Customs
We still need recipes for Cooking Section
WEBNEWS – Send in your favorite or
favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in.
With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal
section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking,
grilling, sauces, and deserts! Send in your submissions here.