Money Talks in K-12 Funding Debate

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We have long complained that public schools in South Carolina waste tons of money. Current estimates hold that only 44 cents on the dollar reaches the classroom. Part of the problem is how the state funding mechanism works. Lawmakers are now (somewhat hesitantly) considering solutions.

Here is a sampling of what is being reported on the effort to clean up South Carolina’s backward web of public school money.

“Ease off those guys, legislatin’ is hard” by Brian Hicks in the Charleston Post and Courier

“…To show you how important [education funding] is, here’s an interesting statistic: Education costs make up close to half the state’s $7 billion annual budget, making it by far South Carolina’s biggest expense.

You might wonder why, if it’s such a big part of what the state does, legislators didn’t focus on it during the five solid months they spent in Columbia the first part of the year… “

“SC lawmakers grapple with education funding” by FITS News

“Several committees charged with examining South Carolina’s wasteful and convoluted education funding formulas could end up proposing sweeping changes to the way we pay for our children’s schooling.

According to several lawmakers engaged in the debate, the changes could pave the way for a simpler, more cost-effective method of disbursing education dollars – one that provides local schools with greatly-enhanced flexibility over their budgets…”

“Do public educators hate SC children?” by the Garnet Spy

“…The state invests funds and children’s futures into a system and with people who repeatedly fail to deliver. Taxpayers are fleeced annually by self-serving education “professionals” whose true motives – at this point in history – need to be carefully scrutinized.”

“Goal is to fix school funding formula” by John O’Connor in the State Newspaper

“State Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, said he had three objectives in changing the way the state pays for public schools:

• Simplify: Produce a plan that is easy for the public, school administrators and lawmakers to understand and explain.

• Remain flexible: The plan should allow school districts to shift money to where it is needed most.

• Be equitable: The ideal plan also would provide more money for poorer districts or students with learning disabilities.

“It’s something we can’t ignore,” Duncan said. “Each child is different.”

The S.C. Association of School Administrators said it needs to study the idea more before endorsing or rejecting it.

‘Backpacking’ is a first step toward complete state funding of K-12 education, Duncan said. State money would help balance the amount poor and wealthy districts spend on education.”

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