Enron liked to make up numbers too

While we generally accept without question anything that Jim Rex says, a recent statement has shaken our implicit faith in South Carolina’s top education official. According to this article in The Marion County News Journal, Jim Rex appeared as guest speaker at the  Greater Mullins Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. During the course of his speech,  Rex addressed the inequity of South Carolina’s education funding, and in the process revealed this startling fact.

“There is a $9,000 per student difference between the wealthiest and poorest districts in the state,” Rex says.

We say this statement is “startling” because there don’t seem to be any numbers to back it up. Of course there’s a high probability that Jim is just up to his old tricks of saying one thing and meaning another.

In short: There is simply no truth to Jim Rex’s statement.

Take a look at the tables below. By the South Carolina Department of Education’s own calculations, the ten school districts spending significantly more money per student are some of the poorest districts.

Take Fairfield County for example.

You will rarely find the words “wealth” and “Fairfield County School District” used in the same sentence, but in 2006 Fairfield  managed to outspend the more affluent Greenville County School District ($7,613 per student) by almost $4,500 a student! Even the school district in which Rex was speaking (Mullins is in Marion School District 7) spends considerably more per student than the average school district in South Carolina.

In all fairness, some of the lowest spenders in the state are poor districts as well, but even our teams of data analysts and mathematicians couldn’t turn up a poor district that spends $9,000 less per student than more wealthy school districts.

So if the SC Department of Education’s own data doesn’t support Jim Rex’s claim, then what is he talking about?

Who knows? Maybe  Rex has actual supportive data stowed away in the recesses of the Rutledge Building. If so, we think we speak for everyone when we say “Let us see it.”

Until we do, we’re going to have to assume that he was just throwing out a number that sounded good to him at the time.

We happen to wholeheartedly agree with Jim Rex that education funding in the Palmetto State is inequitable and in desperate need of reform. What Rex completely fails to grasp ( or ignores) is that reform will never take place as long as education remains controlled by bureaucrats, not parents.

10 Biggest Spenders

Per Pupil Spending

10 Lowest Spenders

Per Pupil Spending



Spartanburg 2 $6,563.00



Anderson 1 $6,572.00

Bamberg 2


Dorchester 2 $6,958.00

Richland 1


Dillon 3 $7,025.00
McCormick $10,550.00 Spartanburg 4 $7,062.00
Marion 7 $10,473.00 Aiken $7,081.00
Calhoun $10,337.00 Pickens $7,086.00
Dorchester 4 $10,232.00 Clarendon 2 $7,198.00
Hampton 2 $10,130.00 Clarendon 3 $7,218.00
Orangeburg 5 $10,077.00 Spartanburg 6 $7,239.00

7 responses to “Enron liked to make up numbers too

  1. Rujon Williams

    Education, Education, Education everywhere and no one is able to think……..sad, sad, sad. The boat is sinking and instead of fixing the hole in the boat, we are still bailing water. We once had a system in this country that produced great thinkers, innovators, and sometimes agitators but even they could think beyond the tip of their noses. WE MUST HAVE A “REVOLUTION” IN EDUCATION, REFORM DOES NOT WORK. WANT TO BE A PART OF THE REAL SOLUTION. EMAIL ME at knowledge964@bellsouth.net
    Darlington County Center for Advocacy and Change

  2. Ken Eberhardt, Jr.

    South Carolina public education has ranked last in the nation for the last 50 years. Why? It has never gotten any better. Promise after promise and dollar after dollar. The only that goes up is the cost. Why are we still last? Any other business would have been gone along time ago.

  3. Darrell Wallace

    I don’t see any moe improvement under Rex than I did with Tannenbaum. I was with the Greenville School District for 19 years before my retirement. I was not an administrator, I was one of the real people who kept the district going. I was in Maintenance. I would vote for school choice just to get out from under bureaucratic rule. They need to teach the Constitution in our schools and enlighten people as to the abuse that our Constitution is now under.

  4. Pingback: Profiles in Waste: Jasper County School District « The Voice for School Choice

  5. Pingback: Poorest Schools are State’s Best Funded « The Voice for School Choice

  6. Pingback: An Inconvenient Spoof: Part 1 « The Garnet Spy

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