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Set the Agenda: School budgets, cruise impact, rail plans

A look at this week's meetings on our radar

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The Charleston County School District will be hosting several budget presentations over the next few weeks. They're going to be talking a lot about the $28 million deficit (their emphasis, not mine). The first meeting is at Burke High Tuesday night and at Stall High on Wednesday, both at 6:30. This meetings are sparsely attended, but includes the district's finance team. So you shouldn't have a problem getting your question in.

I'm pretty numb to the "We've cut so much, we're cutting into bone" line — we'd have likely lost an arm or two by now. That said, the pay cuts for administrators and cutting 60-70 district positions (outside of the classroom) makes it seem like we're getting to that point where we start talking less about where the money is going and more about where the money is coming from.

Wednesday morning, the State Ports Authority will be making another pitch on the economic impact of the cruise industry. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event at 7:30 a.m. at the Francis Marion Hotel.

The meeting will include new economic projections from the Chamber's Center for Business Research. The meeting will also include an update on the 35 acre Union Pier redevelopment. There will be a chance for audience questions, but I'm not sure this suit and tie crowd is going to ask the questions about accountability and traffic management that we're hearing from elsewhere on the peninsula. The cost to attend is $20 for Chamber members, $40 for non-members (includes breakfast). To register visit www.charletonchamber.net/orgcalendar.

The Port Review and Oversight Commission will be holding a meeting Friday to review competing proposals for a rail yard to service the port in North Charleston. The city has supported a plan by rail line CSX to run trains through a private rail yard south of the new port terminal on the old Navy Yard. The state's Commerce Department has purchased a large swath of the undeveloped Navy Yard property to build a state-run yard that would send CSX trains south and Norfolk Southern trains north.

Residents of the Chicora Cherokee neighborhood and Park Circle are certain to fill this meeting. For those who are interested, this may be the first chance to really vet these two plans. And the questions or comments from commission members may be very telling as far as what they're looking to support. The meeting begins at 11 a.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn on International Boulevard. I hope they've booked a large room.

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