Erica Daly, a senior at Fort Mill High School, has decided to sell T-shirts this summer to help replace funding lost as a result of Act 388 -- a controversial tax law.
Act 388 removed property taxes on owner-occupied homes as a source of revenue for public schools. The result lowered the tax obligation on most homeowners, and simultaneously left schools scrambling for money.
Fort Mill school officials say the tax law has cost them about $60 million.
Any money Daly raises from T-shirt sales will go to the Foundation for Fort Mill Schools. Grants from the foundation help pay for classroom projects and provide them with upgraded technology that can be used to help the children learn.
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“To me, the grants the foundation awards have the widest reaching positive impact on students,” Daly said.
Scott Patterson, executive director for the foundation, said last year the foundation gave money to 76 percent of the requests.
In April, a $26,000 grant went to teachers to improve their classrooms, Patterson said. Last year, the foundation gave $15,000 to the school district.
“Knowing we make an impact, that’s what keeps me going.” Patterson said.
Daly hopes her T-shirts also will have an impact. The shirts are red, with a white and blue flag and the Foundation for Fort Mill Schools logo on top.
The shirts will be made by BrandPro Shop in Rock Hill, which gave her a discount when they learned the project would help benefit Fort Mill schools.
“Any time we can help with a project that involves education we’ll do what we can do,” said BrandPro shop owner Jim Gordon.
Daly’s mother, Robin, is loaning her the money for the initial purchase of T-shirts, and will be refunded when people purchase their shirts. The shirts cost $15.
“I’m very proud of her. It’s a great learning experience” Robin Daly said. “I really think it’s a good cause. I’m a strong believer in education.”
Daly said she decided to sell T-shirts after watching last year’s presidential election. She said she realized everyone has concerns they feel need to be addressed.
“This past year, I became more and more drawn to the idea of public service,” she said. “I think education is very important for our democracy, students need to know how to think critically.”
The fundraiser also will help Daly compete for the Robert D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship, which awards $5,000 to a student whose project best demonstrates “concern for the community,” according to the scholarship’s website.
“If I win, that’s great, but if not that’s totally fine, too. It’s been very time consuming, but a great learning experience” she said.
Anyone who buys a T-Shirts can walk with a group in the Baxter Village Fourth of July parade, according to Daly’s facebook page. To register, go to Eventbrite.com and search “July 4th Baxter Parade walk -- Parade for Schools.”
Want a T-shirt?
Shirts and can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Orders are due by June 25. For more details about size, pick up times and other details, go to the group's’ Facebook page, Parade for Schools.