Family Photographer in Charleston, SC

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We've all heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words". And photos really are a special way to help tell the story of our lives - who we are and what's important to us.

And, of course, some images speak to us more strongly than others. More often than not we love a photo not so much because it shows us how we look but because it captures a very human element that is hard to express in words – an authentic connection with those we love or with ourselves and how we show up or want to be seen in the world.

Whether you're looking to capture someone's attention with a professional headshot or want to commemorate the beautiful connection with your partner or family, I can help.

My name is Adam Chandler, and as a professional photographer in Charleston, SC. I truly find joy and fulfillment in the work I do. I love the adventure of photography and I continually immerse myself in learning and exploring how to improve my craft which includes learning new ways to connect with and capture my subjects. I truly understand that, for many people (if not most), even the idea of having your picture taken can cause a good bit of discomfort and anxiety. That's why I place so much importance on putting my subjects at ease while also really listening to any concerns or wants they have for their session.

I draw upon my technical knowledge of photography, my ability to connect with people, and my creativity to produce beautifully memorable photos for my clients. I believe that my unique creative vision and many years of experience combined with the way I strive to give my clients the most enjoyable experience possible sets me apart from some of the other great photographers in Charleston.

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Family Photography Charleston, SC  Photographer Charleston, SC

Testimonials

Now that you know a little about my background, let's take a look at some of
my most popular photography services in Charleston: My mission is to beautifully capture the joy and connection of each unique family while also creating a fun experience for my clients.

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC

The importance of family is hard to overstate. From children to grandparents to nieces and nephews, families and the family dynamic can grow and change before you know it, with many beautiful milestones taking place along the way.

I think that one of the best ways to remember some of these important moments of togetherness is with a fun family photo session.

I absolutely love photographing families and, while no two families are the same, I always strive to give each session my all in order to best connect with and capture the uniqueness of each family. Even though each session is somewhat different, I approach each one with the same goal: to capture the distinct personality, affection, and energy of each family in order to provide authentic, engaging pictures and a joyful experience.

Whether you have a toddler that you want to celebrate or have grandparents in town for a visit, Charleston is an amazing city for family photography. There are so many locations in the Lowcountry that make for great family photography backdrops:

  • Beaches - Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island, Kiawah, Seabrook, Isle of Palms, Hilton Head, Edisto Beach
  • Popular Places - Washington Square, Broad Street, Hampton Park, Waterfront Park, Shem Creek, The Cistern at College of Charleston
  • Historical Sites - Charleston Battery, Fort Sumter, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Rainbow Row

Whatever location you choose for family photography in Charleston, the Holy City is a wonderful place to explore and enjoy with friends and family.

As a family photographer in Charleston, one of the reasons why I love working with families so much (in addition to getting to meet some really awesome people) is the opportunity to combine my creativity with my ever-evolving technical skill. I also gladly accommodate the style preferences my clients are looking for - be it more traditional, posed images, or candid, playful pictures.

I use a clear yet relaxed style of direction to get you and your family engaged in our photography session, to help get authentic expressions that really show the unique dynamic and relationships of each family.

Here are just a few reasons why families choose Adam Chandler Photography for their family portraits:

Document Family Growth

Change, of course, is part of life and with each passing year families, too, change and often grow. Each stage is beautiful in its own way and having annual family photographs is a fun way to document the different seasons of family life. Be it a new baby, a birthday or anniversary or simply wanting to capture your kids at each special age, I'd be honored to be chosen to help tell the story of your family over the years.

Remember Milestones

With each year that passes, new milestones are reached. From a child's first steps to a sibling getting married, there is no better way to remember these wonderful occasions than with quality photographs. Whether you're welcoming a new puppy into your life, are celebrating an anniversary or finally have gathered your extended family together in one place, capturing these special times in your life is a great way to ensure you'll be able to enjoy and relive these moments years from now.

Create Memories

Many families tell me before their sessions that it's not often that they are all able to be together and they emphasize how special and important this session is. Or, perhaps, a mom or dad will talk about how fleetingly special a certain age of their child is and how they really want to capture their children's personalities. Even if you capture lots of great moments of your family throughout the year it's likely not very often that all of you are in the pictures at once (other than maybe having a stranger tell you to "say cheese" after you hand them your phone. Having a time that's dedicated to capturing the special bonds between family members - parents and their children, grandparents and their grandchildren, siblings and maybe extended family as well - is so important. We all know just how special these people and moments are and how we tend to treasure these memories more with each passing year.

Portraits And Headshots In Charleston, SC

A great headshot shows you at your best - whether you want to impress a prospective employer or need professional photography for your website. In today's digitally-intensive society, having a professional headshot or portrait of you or your team that stands out for all the right reasons is becoming a necessity. It's no surprise, then, that headshots and portraits are among the most popular genres of photography.

Headshots can be tricky, mostly because many (if not most) people don't like being in front of the camera (trust me, I totally get that). I know that for some clients, it can be hard to know what to do, what to wear or how to relax enough to let their authentic selves come through so that they can end up with a professional photo or headshot that inspires authenticity and confidence.

Fortunately, I have years of experience taking professional headshots of all types of people. No matter what your comfort level is with having your picture taken, I pride myself on being able to create the conditions necessary to help capture my clients as you want to be seen. Through lighting, posing and direct yet relaxed interaction I'll help guide you to great photos that you’ll be proud to showcase and share with others.

A professional headshot or portrait is an investment into your personal brand, and here is why:

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC
 Best Photographer Charleston, SC

Show Your Personality

Not all headshots should be approached the same way. Depending on your industry or how you'll be using the photos, there are certain things to consider. A great headshot reflects not just how you look but also how you show up in the world. It can help give people an idea of the kind of person you are before you sit down to meet them. Oftentimes, too, people may want a variety of "looks" to suit different needs and uses. My goal is to listen to your expectations and then deliver results that will serve you will in your professional and/or personal life.

 Beach Photography Charleston, SC

Show Your Professionalism

Clients, collaborators, investors, and employers are typically much more likely to interview you or to contact you or your business if you look professional. If you've taken the time to invest in your brand, in part by making the effort to arrange a professional headshot, people notice that. And who doesn't want to make a great first (or second or third) impression?

 Family Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC

Stand Out on Social Media

Many of my clients make appointments for headshots and portraits when they want to stand out from the crowd on social media. Whether you own a business and need to create new social media pages or you're looking to network with recruiters on LinkedIn or, perhaps, update your website, a professional headshot can definitely set you apart in the modern sea of selfies and snapshots that you often see out there.

 Wedding Photographer Charleston, SC

Show Off Your Current Look

None of us look the same as we did 10 or 15 years ago yet some of us keep the same photo up for decades. Having outdated headshots can send a message of inauthenticity. When you have up-to-date, professional headshots, you're showing clients and employers that you are confident, committed, and authentic.

 Headshots Charleston, SC

Qualities Of A Great Photographer In Charleston, SC

Being a great photographer means more than owning fancy equipment. While having expensive gear can be quite helpful, the real test of a professional, for me, has a lot more to do with being able to draw upon my deep understanding of the craft of photography so that I can focus more on connecting with and beautifully capturing my subjects without getting bogged down in figuring out the technical side of things. It's taken me many years to get where I am and I'm always striving to improve in order to continue to deliver the best pictures and most enjoyable experience possible for my clients.

Clients choose Adam Chandler Photography because my experience shows and they trust me to always give them the results and experience that they're looking for. Here are just a few qualities that my clients appreciate:

 Engagement Photography Charleston, SC

Imagination

I wholeheartedly consider photography to be an artform - one that requires lots of curiosity and imagination along with a good bit of technique. A great photographer knows how to get beautiful results no matter what the conditions or circumstances are and this only comes with experience and preparation.

Family Photography Charleston, SC

Passion

This quality might seem obvious but I can't tell you how many times I've seen photography that may be technically good but is missing something. My passion for photography largely comes from my passion for connecting with people in a way that helps them feel comfortable letting their guard down so they can enjoy the process. And this almost always leads to exceptional, authentic images.

 Photographer Charleston, SC

Patience

Patience can also be essential for great photos. As in life, there are many things that we just can't control. Sometimes the best photos come from patiently going with the flow and not trying to force something to happen. I find that when I'm patient yet prepared - ready to capture the right moment or expression when the time is right - that's often the best approach. As a professional with many years of experience, I understand the importance of having the patience to deal with whatever comes my way as well as the flexibility and preparedness to make the most out of any situation.

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC

People Skills

If ever there was a business where people skills were important I think portrait photography is definitely one of them. Knowing how uncomfortable many people can be when getting their pictures taken, I put every effort into helping ensure the best possible experience for my clients and communication is such a big part of that. I love interacting with my clients to build trust and rapport as well as a deep understanding of your expectations including any concerns you may have. As I've said, for me my job is not just about delivering beautiful images but also a wonderful client experience. That's why I focus so much on each and every interaction with my clients. Yes, people skills are a must in this business. Luckily for me, it's one of my favorite parts of the job!

Eye for Detail

As a professional photographer in Charleston, SC I am meticulous when it comes to details. Through my many years of photographing many different types of subjects under many different circumstances I've come to learn just how important details are. Whether it's finding or creating the best quality of light for my clients, eliciting a great expression or
adjusting the background or, perhaps, a piece of clothing, all of these things impact the overall look and feel of a photo. Whether I'm photographing a family, a business professional or a couple in love I always look for all the ways I can create the best image possible.

 Portrait Photographer Charleston, SC
 Best Photographer Charleston, SC

"As I hope you can tell by looking at my work, I really love my job. And most of all I love the people I get to meet and work with. I'd be honored and delighted to be chosen for your photography needs."

Adam Chandler

Ready to Get Started?

One of my favorite things to do is to talk to clients about what they're looking for and how I can serve them. If you are in need of professional photography, let's talk today about what you have in mind. Whether you're looking for family or couples' photography in Charleston or want great new headshots for you or your team, I'm here to help every step of the way!  

Latest News in Charleston, SC

‘Flying blind’: Some COVID-19 monitoring not done in Charleston, other parts of SC

One way the state monitors community transmission of COVID-19 has not been done in Charleston and some other areas of South Carolina for more than two months.At least one scientist who tracks COVID-19 locally said they are ’flying blind” without widespread testing and wastewater surveillance to look for the virus and provide a key indicator of how much is circulating. The Charleston area may actually be in the midst of another surge based on modeling of what data is available, said Dr. Michael Sweat of Medical University o...

One way the state monitors community transmission of COVID-19 has not been done in Charleston and some other areas of South Carolina for more than two months.

At least one scientist who tracks COVID-19 locally said they are ’flying blind” without widespread testing and wastewater surveillance to look for the virus and provide a key indicator of how much is circulating. The Charleston area may actually be in the midst of another surge based on modeling of what data is available, said Dr. Michael Sweat of Medical University of South Carolina. A Clemson University scientist is urging caution as well.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said it is working to take over wastewater surveillance testing for the virus from a lab at the University of South Carolina, which has been reporting those results to the National Wastewater Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It has been some time, I think, since USC submitted samples to the CDC for reporting out,” Dr. Linda Bell, the state epidemiologist, acknowledged.

A spokesman for USC did not return calls seeking comment.

Wastewater surveillance can pick up trends in virus levels shed in human waste from people who may not have symptoms yet four to six days before it is likely to be picked up by clinical testing, so it can provide an early warning of outbreaks, according to the CDC. It is meant as a complement to other surveillance, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky praised the testing this year for providing an early signal of outbreaks beginning in the Northeast.

Wastewater treatment plants regularly pull samples for other testing, so it is a matter of taking part of that sample and shipping it off for testing. The labs carefully handle and filter the samples to get something that can be subjected to the same diagnostic testing as patients, said Dr. Delphine Dean, director of the Clemson Research and Education in Disease Diagnosis and Intervention (REDDI) Lab. Bell said it is a recent addition to surveillance but it has value.

“The concept, that wastewater surveillance can be a big benefit to early detection of transmission in a community that does not rely on somebody having to to go a healthcare facility to be tested, it does have really significant attributes in that way,” she said.

According to the CDC’s data, Charleston has not had its wastewater checked for COVID-19 since at least April 7. The same goes for Darlington and Lexington counties, while Richland, Horry, Georgetown and some other areas of the state have not been monitored since around mid-May.

In almost every case, the virus levels were rising when last checked. The only current data is coming from monitoring done at Clemson for Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood and Pickens counties. There, “it is kind of steadily increasing week to week,” Dean said. It is not the explosion of cases seen in some previous surges, with the delta and early omicron variants, but it is rising, she said.

That may also be true for the Charleston area, said Sweat, director of the MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project. In its monitoring of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, cases per day per 100,000 population increased 10 percent this past week, from 31 to 34, Sweat said.

Recent modeling by Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggest that only about 10 percent of actual COVID-19 cases are being picked up by testing due in part to a large amount of home tests. Even using a conservative sixfold multiplier would put the actual cases in the community at 204 per 100,000, or about where cases were during the onslaught of the delta variant last fall, Sweat said.

“We’re in a surge, it’s pretty obvious,” he said. “I think there is a lot of transmission, and it is continuing to go up. Because of vaccination and prior infection, we’re not seeing the same numbers hospitalized and dying” due to better protection against severe disease. That is validated by internal numbers: MUSC closely tracks its own staff who come down with COVID-19 and those numbers are approaching what they were during the delta surge, Sweat said.

Wastewater surveillance would provide a better window into how much virus is actually circulating in the community, he said.

“Having wastewater would be really valuable; there is consensus in the field about that,” Sweat said. When the state stopped widespread testing in favor of home tests, “the value of the case reporting diminished because we were getting vast undercounts. That kind of left us in that flying-blind mode,” he said. Wastewater surveillance for the virus was supposed to help alleviate that, but the area is without it, Sweat said.

“We need it,” he said. “I think it would be valuable to see that.”

It is one reason DHEC is trying to do the testing itself. After meetings over the past week, the DHEC Public Health Laboratory is now working to validate its testing as it prepares to take over the wastewater surveillance, the agency said in a statement to the Post and Courier. That process may continue all summer, DHEC Media Relations Director Ron Aiken said.

But even without it, the state is reporting many other good metrics, such as cases per 100,000 population and hospitalizations, that allow people to know what is happening with COVID-19 in their communities, Bell said.

“We do encourage people to continue to look at the traditional surveillance systems,” Bell said.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in a White House COVID-19 briefing on June 9, also encouraged people to maintain vigilance. “We are not done with the pandemic,” he said. “The virus is still here.”

Clemson was monitoring virus levels in its wastewater on campus and also closely tracking how many people tested positive on campus so it could validate how valuable the wastewater data was in predicting infections, Dean said.

“It allowed us to build pretty good estimates on how the wastewater relates to total case counts,” she said. Its data allows Dean to estimate that 1-1.5 percent of the population is infected in the areas they monitor. It translates into an elevated level of risk, Dean said.

“That means if you are going to be in an indoor setting with a larger group of people, you’re pretty likely to have someone in there who has COVID, so you should take precautions,” she said.

Editorial: Affordable housing win in Charleston shows value of SC housing credit

Creating affordable housing is challenging enough; doing it as part of a sensitive rehabilitation to a historic building in Charleston is even more difficult. That’s why we’re doubly gratified to see construction work finally begin on the long-planned and longer-hoped-for project to convert the former Henry P. Archer School into 89 apartments for seniors with incomes below 60% of the area’s median income.The Nassau Street landmark has been vacant for years and was in such poor condition that it once was considered fo...

Creating affordable housing is challenging enough; doing it as part of a sensitive rehabilitation to a historic building in Charleston is even more difficult. That’s why we’re doubly gratified to see construction work finally begin on the long-planned and longer-hoped-for project to convert the former Henry P. Archer School into 89 apartments for seniors with incomes below 60% of the area’s median income.

The Nassau Street landmark has been vacant for years and was in such poor condition that it once was considered for demolition, despite its history as a place where civil rights leader Septima Clark once taught. The project not only will save an important part of the East Side’s history but also will give the city much-needed housing. The phrase “win-win” is overused but fits here.

Still, anyone following the Charleston region’s housing situation knows full well that this $42 million project, as significant as it is, will put only a small dent in our overall need for more affordable units. That’s why we remain concerned about the future of South Carolina’s affordable housing tax credit — a relatively new financing tool that was a critical part of the mix that’s making the Archer rehabilitation possible.

The 3-year-old credit also has provided help to many other multi-family projects across the state, and its unexpected popularity caused some state officials to grow concerned about the resulting loss of revenue. When the bill to create the credit passed, it was estimated that the state would lose about $16 million a year by the 10th year of the program, but the state actually lost about $50 million last year.

In response, state officials essentially froze the program until the Legislature responded; it did so by capping the credit at $20 million a year, not as high as some housing advocates had hoped for but still high enough to make it a viable tool in the years to come.

The legislation contained other tweaks, including a stipulation that about 20% of the $20 million go toward projects in rural areas and giving the state’s Joint Bond Review Committee more oversight into how the credit is used.

We urge members of that committee and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority — which will come up with an annual plan — to remain supportive of the credit, and we encourage the bond committee and the S.C. Housing Finance and Development Authority to keep tabs on the tax credits to ensure they’re supporting projects that promise to make the biggest differences across the state. We also urge legislators to remain open to the idea of raising the cap in future years as market conditions evolve and we learn more about how state tax credits can help.

We understand why lawmakers felt a need to impose the cap this year, but we believe the potential cost of the tax credits is more than justified by the longstanding affordability problem that reaches far beyond the Lowcountry. A 2019 study found that a third of S.C. families struggle to pay their rent or make their mortgage payments. The National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that we have only 44 available affordable housing units for every 100 families who need them and would qualify for them; it estimates the state has a shortage of more than 85,000 units for extremely low-income renters, who are defined as those making 30% or less of the area median income. Low-income renters make 60% or less of the median income, so the need is far greater than 85,000 units.

The housing authority’s own needs assessment found that more than 140,000 renter households experience “severe cost burden,” meaning they spend at least half of their income on rent and utilities.

As we’ve noted before, lawmakers also should consider how the affordable housing enabled by this credit is helping the state’s economy and residents’ quality of life. Trying to cut costs by limiting these credits too much could prove to be penny-wise and pound-foolish in the end.

The renovated Archer School is expected to open its doors to new residents in two years, but the bigger lesson is that we need many more such projects in the years to come.

PREVIEW: Piccolo Spoleto finale brings together S.C. acts from three genres

As two weeks of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival come to an end, three South Carolina musical acts will close out the festival with one last tradition: the Piccolo Spoleto Finale.Manny Houston, Sam Burchfield and Southbound 17 will gather in Hampton Park on June 11 to end the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Houston will headline the mainstage, with Burchfield opening the show, and Southbound 17 bringing what it calls its “Ame...

As two weeks of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival come to an end, three South Carolina musical acts will close out the festival with one last tradition: the Piccolo Spoleto Finale.

Manny Houston, Sam Burchfield and Southbound 17 will gather in Hampton Park on June 11 to end the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Houston will headline the mainstage, with Burchfield opening the show, and Southbound 17 bringing what it calls its “Ameri-kinda” sound to the Rose Pavilion.

Inspired by Childish Gambino and Kanye West, Manny Houston is a hip-hop artist and College of Charleston graduate from the Greenville area currently based in Los Angeles, where he has been working on his music under the mentorship of the producer duo Stargate.

Before pursuing hip-hop full time, Houston (who has a degree in classical piano from the College of Charleston) was a musician in Off-Broadway musicals, most recently Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation.

Piccolo Spoleto will spotlight his musical training and range in “The Get Down,” which is a set that includes hits from Prince, Rick James and James Brown.

Reconnecting with nature and living like an outlaw: These are the concepts behind Sam Burchfield’s records. He said he loves being a songwriter and is hoping to bring that love to the Piccolo Spoleto Finale stage.

Burchfield’s record Graveyard Flower came out in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. He said the awful timing ended up being good in a way because the album is about reconnection and addresses lots of problems the world was and is facing, like a disconnect from nature.

He has already released several singles from his upcoming album, Scoundrel, which he said plays with the idea of his alter ego, an outlaw living in the Wild West. He used that lens as the base for his storytelling on the album.

Burchfield said his Piccolo show will “play with the duality of those two records and give it the live twist.”

Southbound 17 describes its sound as East Coast Western. Katie Bailey, the lead singer and mandolin player, described the band as country, bluegrass-adjacent, “Ameri-kinda” music. In other words, it loves to put its own spin on songs like “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac or “Clocks” by Coldplay by replacing the original instruments with banjo and mandolin.

Bailey, Jack Austen and Jacob Simmons started making music together in 2014 and have played all over the region ever since, with Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach being their main stops. Piccolo Spoleto was a natural fit for them. Bailey said Spoleto has always been a part of their lives, and bringing their music to Piccolo Spoleto is an exciting opportunity.

“We’ll probably [play]a lot of originals, our favorite originals that we do, and sprinkle in some covers that inspire us along the way,” Austen said about the upcoming set. “It’s pretty much going to be a sampling of some of our favorite stuff that we do in our longer shows.”

Burchfield and Bailey both said they are excited to be part of an event as big as this festival because it’s been two years since they’ve been able to really gather with fans and play music without a lot of restrictions.

“To be able to do something like this – that’s something to celebrate,” Bailey said.

Riley Utley a graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications Program at Syracuse University.

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South Carolina spending hundreds of millions of dollars help schools with aging infrastructure

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As the Saluda County School District educates future generation of Tigers, schools like Saluda Elementary are hampered by aging infrastructure of the past.For starters, there’s the tight cafeteria that can barely squeeze in five classes at lunchtime, the wires held up by zip ties in the hallways, and the boiler rooms that flood with a good rain.The oldest part of the building went up in 1950, and staff say it is well past its prime.“The infrastructure is to the point now that it&rsqu...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As the Saluda County School District educates future generation of Tigers, schools like Saluda Elementary are hampered by aging infrastructure of the past.

For starters, there’s the tight cafeteria that can barely squeeze in five classes at lunchtime, the wires held up by zip ties in the hallways, and the boiler rooms that flood with a good rain.

The oldest part of the building went up in 1950, and staff say it is well past its prime.

“The infrastructure is to the point now that it’s almost impossible to upgrade our facilities to be cost-effective right now,” Saluda Superintendent Dr. Harvey Livingston said.

But in Saluda County, the tax base isn’t there to afford major renovations and construction, a problem that plagues school districts in South Carolina’s poorer, rural areas.

“A millage tax in some of our poorest counties only brings in $20,000, and in our richest counties, it brings in $2 million,” South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “So you can tell how difficult it is to build a school.”

Now the state Department of Education is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help these schools out.

The department worked with the state’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office to rank every school district based on need, using their per capita incomes, index of tax-paying ability of the school district, and index of tax-paying ability of the county.

It found those with the most need, in order, were Allendale, Bamberg 2, Dillon 3 (Latta), Bamberg 1, Lee, Barnwell 19 (Blackville-Hilda), Barnwell 29 (Williston-Elko), Saluda, Dillon 4, and Hampton. Beginning July 1, the two Bamberg districts will be consolidated, as will the two Barnwell districts.

Spearman’s staff looked at those 10 districts first, then expanded it to the 25 neediest, and consulted vendors to assess school facilities to determine how the state will distribute money.

“We will go right up the list in those and looking at our top-priority need. Now this is not taking care of everything in those districts, but we are trying to help on their No. 1 priority need in facilities,” Spearman said, adding the cost to make infrastructure fixes in every South Carolina school is “well over $1 billion, probably closer to $2 billion.”

So far, more than $15 million is heading to Dillon 3 and 4, and on Thursday, the department announced $38 million will go to Saluda schools.

“$38 million is going to go a tremendous way to improve our facilities in Saluda County Schools. We’re a poor, rural district, do not have a very strong tax base, so every dime we can get from the state is going to be huge for us,” Livingston said following the announcement at Saluda Elementary, where he was joined Spearman, district staff, school board members, and members of the Saluda County delegation in the General Assembly.

The Department of Education has received $100 million from the General Assembly in the current state budget for these projects, and it is allocating $40 million of its remaining pandemic relief money from the federal government toward them as well.

While lawmakers are still finalizing the next budget, Spearman said they anticipate receiving at least another $100 million next year, an appropriation that could be as much as $150 million.

“It has been 70 years since we’ve done anything of this significance,” Spearman said.

In Saluda County, their plan includes tearing down the elementary school and combining it with the nearby primary school into a new K-5 school with a new building. With their $38 million, leaders also have their sights set on building a new wing at Hollywood Elementary School and constructing a career and technology wing at Saluda Middle School and Saluda High School.

To receive this money from the state, districts have to get on board with potential consolidations the Department of Education calls for and put some of their own money in as well. Those dollars could come from a bond referendum on the ballot, money districts have obtained in federal pandemic relief, or elsewhere.

Districts also must select a building design from among the prototype plans narrowed down by the Department of Education, which Spearman said will keep them from having to spend additional money on architectural plans.

Livingston said it’ll be worth it for the county’s students and its taxpayers.

“Our students deserve the same opportunities and same buildings that students across the state have, and this $38 million will just make a world of difference for our students for generations to come,” he said.

Spearman, who is not running for re-election this year as state superintendent, believes these appropriations from the General Assembly should be recurring and has proposed the state establish an “infrastructure bank” from which districts could borrow money for school infrastructure projects.

“Some could pay it back; some may not be able to pay it back,” she said. “But it would be a revolving fund that’s not just for the poorest districts in the state because the fast-growing districts have a tremendous burden too.”

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

With early voting over, candidates focus on Tuesday’s primaries

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - More than 26,000 voters across the Lowcountry took advantage of the chance to vote ahead of Tuesday’s June primary, the latest statistics show.The primary marked the first time South Carolina voters could cast ballots under the state’s new 14-day early voting period.For those who did not vote early, polls will open on Tuesday.The State Election Commission listed a total of 79,147 early votes cast statewide as of Friday afternoon. That total is less than half of the 171,835 absentee v...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - More than 26,000 voters across the Lowcountry took advantage of the chance to vote ahead of Tuesday’s June primary, the latest statistics show.

The primary marked the first time South Carolina voters could cast ballots under the state’s new 14-day early voting period.

For those who did not vote early, polls will open on Tuesday.

The State Election Commission listed a total of 79,147 early votes cast statewide as of Friday afternoon. That total is less than half of the 171,835 absentee votes cast during the primaries of 2020, which was an election year.

Comparing this year’s primary’s early voting totals against 2018′s midterm primaries, however, shows an increase of almost 38% in votes this year.

State Election Commision Deputy Executive Director Chris Whitmire said those numbers include Thursday’s votes. The total votes cast Friday will be updated by Monday, he said.

Across the Lowcountry, Beaufort County had the highest number early voters. It was second across the state only to Richland County.

Beaufort County6,262
Berkeley County4,221
Charleston County5,188
Colleton County1,037
Dorchester County3,310
Georgetown County2,350
Orangeburg County2,121
Williamsburg County1,569

Earlier this week, Berkeley and Charleston Counties touted some of the highest turnout rates in early voting.

Whitmire said the busiest early-voting day was Thursday, on which nearly 16,000 voted.

If the trend holds, in which the total number of votes has risen day by day, Whitmire said he expects the total early votes cast to reach near 95,000.

Prior to this month’s primary, voters could cast their ballots as “in-person absentee” in a 30-day window.

Gov. Henry McMaster signed a new election law in time for the June Primary that requires two weeks of in-person early voting before Election Day, every day except Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Unlike past in-person absentee voting, voters were not required to provide a reason or an excuse to vote early in person.

Those who will vote on the actual day of the primary can go to their local polling place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Those who are in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote, Whitmire said.

Voters can check their sample ballot and find their polling place at SCVotes.gov before leaving to vote.

Voters must bring a photo ID to cast a ballot.

Those who have an absentee ballot must return it to the county voter registration office no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday for it to count, Whitmire said. The voter’s oath must be signed and the return envelope witnessed before returning the ballot. The witness must provide an address.

“Instead of mailing your ballot, consider personally delivering your ballot to ensure it arrives on time,” Whitmire said.

Voters can have an authorized returnee return their ballot for them, but must complete an authorized returnee form. A photo ID is required when returning the absentee ballot in person.

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