Tag Archives: legislation

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

More K-12 Education Bills in Legislature

bill-becomes-law

In mid-December the Voice posted lists of pre-filed South Carolina House and Senate bills impacting K-12 education. Here are a few more of interest.

From the House:

H. 3120, mandates pupil-to-teacher ratios; includes a reduction of state funding to districts that don’t follow a minimum state-defined ratio. Sponsors: Reps. J.E. Smith and Battle

H. 3125, revises State School Facilities Bond Act and creates a School Facilities Infrastructure Act to expand the state’s role in local district capital projects. Sponsors: Rep. Cobb-Hunter

H. 3145, removes Adjutant General, Agriculture Commissioner, Comptroller General, Secretary of State and Superintendent of Education as elected positions. Sponsors: Reps. Gunn and Wylie Continue reading

Public Transfer is Not Choice, Lacks Support

State lawmakers on the House Education Committee have rejected HB 4391, the so-called “Public School Choice Program.” This oddly titled proposal would neither mandate nor fund transfer of students between public schools. Nor would it provide parents with real choice in the form of access to independent, private, and home school options.

South Carolina law already allows parents to request transfers within or out of their districts. Federal law also provides for the transfer of many students attending low-income and failing schools. The proposed plan would simply create more administrative resistance to this complicated process. It would not address the fact that such transferring students are required to pay the locally raised portion of school operating costs out of pocket.

Like the failed public transfer proposal Jim Rex petitioned for last session this new bill offers parents nothing that existing state and federal law do not already mandate. More importantly, the proposal would create a complex system of overlapping local authorities, all of which have the ability to prevent transfers in and out of their districts

The Greenville News explained:

Members complained the bill didn’t do enough.

“I guess I’m not seeing this does much,” Rep. Bill Whitmire of Walhalla, who chairs the House education subcommittee, told the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ted Pitts of Lexington.

This year’s bill, like last, was championed by state Education Superintendent Jim Rex, who opposes any private voucher system but wants to foster more choices within public schools.

Pitts said this year’s bill was changed to remove the mandatory cross-district transfer provision, the part of the bill he said most cost the legislation votes last year.

But making it voluntary also removed the “teeth” from the bill, according to Whitmire, who said most of what the bill offers can already be done by school districts.

Public school transfer mechanisms are not school choice. Real choice includes unfettered access to the full range of educational opportunities: magnet schools, charter schools, home schooling and private schools as well as public ones. Public transfer, and in particular limited transfer with heavy local discretion, is a costly distraction from meaningful education reform.