Category Archives: POLICY

UPDATE YOUR RSS: Voice for School Choice is Moving!

Voice For School Choice Update

The Voice” is moving to a new domain.

The new site is www.VoiceForSchoolChoice.com

Note that we have removed the article “the” from the URL.

Please update your favorites, bookmarks, and RSS feeds.

Links on and off site will be mirrored at the new page.

Both theVoiceforSchoolChoice.com and .wordpress.com will soon redirect to www.VoiceForSchoolChoice.com

UPDATE YOUR LINKS: Voice for School Choice is Moving!

Voice for School Choice Update 2

The Voice” is moving to a new domain.

The new site is www.VoiceForSchoolChoice.com

Note that we have removed the article “the” from the URL.

Please update your favorites, bookmarks, and RSS feeds.

Links on and off site will be mirrored at the new page.

Both theVoiceforSchoolChoice.com and .wordpress.com will soon redirect to www.VoiceForSchoolChoice.com

SITE UPDATE: Voice for School Choice is Moving!

Update Voice for School Choice 1

The Voice” is moving to a new domain.

The new site is www.VoiceForSchoolChoice.com

Note that we have removed the article “the” from the URL.

Please update your favorites, bookmarks, and RSS feeds.

Links on and off site will be mirrored at the new page.

Both theVoiceforSchoolChoice.com and .wordpress.com will soon redirect to www.VoiceForSchoolChoice.com

Jim Rex Calls for Major Sales Tax Hike

Jim Rex South Carolina Tax Hike

“I think that might be seen in South Carolina as defensible.”

-Superintendent “Dropout Jim” Rex on lifting the sales tax cap on cars, planes and boats

From the time that cuts to the state budget were first considered a necessity, Jim Rex has opposed any actions that would take money from the public education establishment. Despite the fact that South Carolinians in every income bracket are struggling to deal with a negative economic climate, Rex has continued to put on an aggrieved air, and acted as if education bureaucrats are bearing the entire weight of the state’s economic woes. Continue reading

2009 SC Legislative Wrap-up (BUDGET & SPENDING)

South Carolina Expectation Advisory

In December and January the Voice posted summaries of legislation introduced in the South Carolina State Legislature.

Here, seven months later, is an overview of the status of those and other bills relating to the budget and state spending practices.

(Also look for upcoming reviews of K-12 Education bills, Charter School bills, and Tax bills):

S. 2 Remove and replace state spending cap

This legislation revises this limit by imposing an annual limit on the appropriation of state general fund revenues by adjusting such revenues by a rolling ten-year average in annual changes in general fund revenues and the creation of a separate budget stabilization fund in the state treasury to which must be credited all general fund revenues in excess of the annual limit. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 72 State agencies and institutions justify dollars from any source

This legislation provides that all state agencies, departments, colleges, universities, institutions, and entities shall report to the general assembly and to the governor on January 15th and July 15th of each year the justification of the dollars from any source that are received by them, and how these dollars are used to provide services to the citizens of the state, and to provide for the administration of and exceptions to this provision. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 130 Requires budget to have narrative

This legislation requires the Governor’s annual budget recommendation and the reports of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on the annual General Appropriations Act to be in a programmatic format by providing a narrative description of each separate program administered by a state agency and providing the elements that must be included in the narrative. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and did not receive any further action. Continue reading

SCASA Grabs for a Slice of Stimulus Pie

mollyscasa

SCASA Executive Director Molly Spearman eager for a taxpayer-subsidized bailout!

Everyone’s favorite taxpayer- subsidized, education bureaucracy cheering squad is suffering from a terminal case of greed.

The South Carolina Association of School Administrators ( SCASA), a slavering defender of anything done by South Carolina’s bloated education bureaucracy, has been recently exposed for its efforts to lay hands on $300,000 of federal “bailout” money.

How? Why? Last time The Voice checked, SCASA didn’t do anything except posture with people like this, and try to influence the legislature through publicly-funded lobbyists.

Yesterday FITSNews broke the story on this latest SCASA money grab -

According to documents filed with S.C. Supreme Court earlier this month, SCASA is requesting more than $150,000 worth of “cost reimbursement” for its legal fees – an amount which would be doubled under the “multiplier” recommended in a companion brief filed by USC law professor John P. Freeman.

The petition filed by SCASA argues that S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford acted “without substantial justification” in opposing a portion of the federal “bureaucratic bailout” funds allotted to South Carolina, and that the organization should be compensated for securing the money on behalf of all South Carolinians.”

What do these people do anyway? Certainly setting up expensive, beach retreats for bureaucrats during a recession, and excusing failures of the state’s public education system, are not sufficient reasons for struggling taxpayers to have to subsidize them through dues and the state health care plan.

Our state’s legislature needs to kick groups like SCASA away from the public trough, and make sure every tax dollar is being allocated to legitimate needs, or going back into the pockets of citizens.

Orangeburg Superintendent Pockets $84K “bonus”

CBR003591

Superintendent is getting a questionable payout as teachers are forced to furlough.

In late June, the Voice received a anonymous letter detailing more financial shenanigans in Orangeburg School District Five.

Orangeburg Five Melvin Smoaks Superintendent

The author suggested that the local superintendent worked behind the scenes with members of the School Board to massively inflate his daily pay.

Lee Tant, of the Orangeburg Times and Democrat, just published a great article detailing exactly how District Superintendent Melvin Smoak is “supplementing” his salary:

Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 Superintendent Melvin Smoak has received more than $84,000 as compensation for vacation and sick days he didn’t use over the past 35 years.

Normally, district employees are paid just $40 a day for unused sick days. But in 2006, the board amended Smoak’s contract to apply his daily pay rate for each day of unused sick leave he accumulated at the end of the contract.

[Smoak] was given two raises after the amendment was made, which boosted his daily pay rate to $540, according to his contract.

Tant then explains that according to official district policy, unused sick days can accumulate from year-to-year. But district employees can only carry over 10 vacation days to the next year. Any unused vacation days beyond that are lost at the end of the year. Continue reading

2009 SC Legislative Wrap-up (CHARTER SCHOOLS)

South Carolina Expectation Advisory

In December and January the Voice posted summaries of legislation introduced in the South Carolina State Legislature.

Here, seven months later, is an overview of the status of those and other bills relating to Charter School policy.

(Also look for upcoming reviews of other K-12 Education bills, Tax bills, and Budget & Spending bills):

S.679 Charter schools

This legislation provides that a charter school may transfer its sponsorship from the local school district to the SC Public Charter School District or from the SC Public Charter School District to the local school district upon a mutual written agreement among the charter school, the local school district and the SC Public Charter School District. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 680 SC Charter School District Act of 2009

This legislation enacts the SC Charter School District Act of 2009. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action. Continue reading

Choice gaining bipartisan steam despite Sellers’ attacks

An “Online Extra” of the State Newspaper:
Choice gaining bipartisan steam despite Sellers’ attacks

By GLENN McCALL, Guest Columnist

The S.C. Republican Party stands behind all parents who want to choose a better education for their children — and we’re not alone.

As the astronomical human cost of our public system’s ongoing failure keeps mounting, Republicans, Democrats and independents are joining the ranks of parental choice supporters in record numbers here in the Palmetto State — and beyond.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. After all, the first chapter in America’s emerging school choice history was written by African-American leaders in Milwaukee, Wis. — committed Democrats who were fed up with failing schools and tired of unfulfilled promises from the status quo.

Nearly two decades later, Milwaukee boasts one of most successful parental choice programs in the nation, with substantially increased graduation rates and higher percentages of children attending two-year degree programs. Continue reading

More Jim Rex Ethics Antics

Superintendent Jim Rex of South Carolina

The Voice has never been shy about calling out “Dropout Jim” Rex for using taxpayer funds to reward and retain his loyal political consultant, Zeke Stokes (or f0r personal politicking)

In fact, after posting the numbers on how much Rex was paying his former campaign manager, questions from several news sources had Rex scrambling to show just how invaluable his consultant was in educating children in South Carolina.

Now, South Carolinians can see more of Rex’s financial dealings with his trusted consultant.

On Rex’s most recent Ethics Commission filing, the following shows up as a “contribution” from Zeke Stokes-

Payment from Zeke

On the same filing, under “Expenditures,” Rex lists a payment to Zeke Stokes for $30.69 for “Printing 2010″-

Payment to Zeke

That’s funny, it’s the same amount! Continue reading