Success Today!

The Most Frequently Asked Questions



What is Success Today?

Success Today! is a four-year plan to ensure Aiken County Public Schools provide the highest quality educational opportunity for citizens of all ages. This program of work is a collaborative response that actively involves the entire community as partners in underwriting this ambitious program.


Who is Public Education Partners?

Public Education Partners is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to facilitate and support the development of programs and initiatives that complement the work of the Aiken County School District to improve public education.


Who will benefit from Success Today?

Schools, teachers and our youth will be the immediate beneficiaries of Success Today!  Business will benefit in the long-term from a workforce equipped with basic skills, informed about Aiken County career opportunities and trained and occupationally ready to enter a 21st century career.


What is the goal of Success Today?

The goal of Success Today! is to provide a focused and coordinated long-range effort to improve K-12 education throughout Aiken County.  The continued economic prosperity of Aiken County depends upon a sound effective education system and the plan works toward this goal.


Why aren’t taxes paying for these programs?

Local tax dollars pay about 37% of the school district’s $141 million budget.  Another 55% comes from state and 7% from the federal government all of which are earmarked for salaries, supplies and equipment, and capital expenses.  Approximately 66 percent of each mill is directed toward public education.  The balance is earmarked for county operations.


Public Education Partners use their dollars to provide funds where tax dollars don’t reach.  Initiatives include high quality teacher training, programs that require statements to take responsibility for their learning, and expansion and replication of successful programs that would not happen without the funding, coordination and encouragement that Public Education Partners provides.


Who will be asked to invest in Success Today?

Every business and industry in Aiken County will be invited to invest in this four-year program.


What will be the cost to implement Success Today?

It will cost $425,000 for each year of the four-year program, or a total of $1,700,000 over the four-year funding period.


Who is leading the Success Today! initiative?

Public Education Partners is sponsoring Success Today!  The fundraising campaign to underwrite the four-year program is co-chaired by twenty-two business, education and community leaders who have volunteered their time and energy to lead the initiative.


Who will administer the Success Today! four-year plan?

Public Education Partners will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation of Success Today!  The board is comprised of representatives from the business community and leadership from the Success Today! initative.


Are all areas of the school district targeted for Success Today! four-year programs?

Yes.  The four-year strategic plan targets all areas of the school district.  Funding will be spread equitably to:


·       Ensure every elementary and middle school can identify and remediate students who are behind in basic skills.

·       Establish a family learning center open one evening a week where parents and children can develop skills, learn about career opportunities and good parenting practices.

·       Improve the quality and availability of adult education programs.

·       Improve programs that connect students to their life after school through career planning, character education and service learning.

·       Increase parent, business, and community involvement in schools, as well as public awareness of education issues.


Who developed the Success Today! Strategic Plan?

The Strategic Plan is the product of more than 40 educators, community and business leaders who worked together over several months to identify the challenges facing Aiken County and formulate a cohesive four-year plan to address those issues.


Will I have an opportunity to get involved in Success Today?

Yes.  The Success Today! Strategic Plan calls for a number of community projects focused on either improving schools or extending educational opportunities to all citizens.  Every business leader in the Aiken County area will have the opportunity to participate directly in this initiative.


How does Success Today! fit in with:

a.    Dollars for Scholars

Dollars for Scholars offers college scholarships to individual students.  Public Education Partners implements programs that improve achievement for thousands of students.  As a result, students qualify for scholarships available from a variety of sources including Dollars for Scholars. 

b.   First Steps

Public Education Partners supports the Governor’s initiative to improve school readiness.  We have already taken steps locally that have helped some of our most at-risk pre-schoolers get ready for success in school. 

c.    Aiken County Tech Prep Consortium

Public Education Partners helped the Aiken Chamber establish its School To Work Task Force, which assisted the Tech Prep Consortium identify over 500 shadowing opportunities for high school students this year.

d.    United Way’s Success by Six

Since January 1996 Public Education Partners has been a strong supporter of this early childhood initiative.  Diane Mangiante (Public Education Partners’ Executive Director) wrote the organization’s successful 2000 grant, bringing $60,000 to community programs, and also serves as the Chair of the Evaluation and Finance Committee.


Will we be kept informed of the results of the Success Today! program?

Yes.  Investors will receive a quarterly newletter updating them on events and programs throughout the school district. Investors will also be invited to an annual meeting to learn of our progress, the previous year's accomplishments and to chart the activities of Success Today! for the coming year.


Will my company receive recognition of its investment in Success Today!?

Yes.  The Success Today! Honor Roll will be published in local newspapers at the conclusion of the campaign.  In addition, a special plaque will be erected at the offices of the Public Education Partners  recognizing each investor in Success Today!


Is my four-year investment in Success Today! tax deductible?

Yes.  Public Education Partners is a public charity and contributions are tax deductible as provided under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code.  The organization is also registered with the Office of the Secretary of State, South Carolina as a fundraising organization.


Is an “in-kind” of products and/or services acceptable?

Absolutely.  At the discretion of Public Education Partners, donations of either goods or services of direct benefit to the organization will be accepted from our partners in the community.


How long do we have to pay our pledge, and when is the first payment due?

We are seeking investments over a four-year period.  Those investments may be paid on either a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis at your election.  An investment reminder will be mailed to your business at the interval you select.


Are pledges to Success Today! restricted to Aiken County businesses?

No.  We welcome investments from any business that wishes to support Success Today!  Vendors to Aiken County businesses, organizations who draw from the county’s workforce or individuals who simply believe strongly in the vision of Aiken County: as a premier 21st century education community, are welcome to invest in Success Today!


How is Success Today! monies distributed to schools?

Historically, Public Education Partners has used both competitive and challenge grants.  While some grant proposals will be solicited, the projects outlined in the Strategic Plan will be accomplished through targeted, collaborative efforts.


To what extent are the Cities and County supporting Success Today?

Representatives from the County and various cities throughout Aiken County have been instrumental in the creation of this dynamic program of work.  Individual members have supported Success Today! philosophically and financially as shown by their representation on the Leadership Council.  Elected officials of municipalities have served and are serving on the Board of Directors for Public Education Partners.


How effective was Public Education Partners with its budget over the past five years?

Public Education Partners established a record of accomplishment over the past five years by providing a return on investment of two times its initial investment.  The organization was budgeted with $300,000 and through grantsmanship, generated an additional $660,000 all of which was invested in public education.