New numbers show that State Superintendent Jim Rex lied about under-funding of public schools in low-income areas.
Many people were shocked we when published the per-student spending totals of SC public school districts.
Equally surprising was the news that a mere 44 cents per dollar reaches the classroom in the form of instructional spending.
Unfortunately, inflated allocations and inefficient spending are not the end of the story. Equally troubling is the MASSIVE FUNDING INEQUALITY between neighboring districts.
Contrary to statements made by Jim Rex (source), schools in low income areas are receiving thousands of dollars MORE per student, despite a sustained failure to properly educate the children attending them. The current funding system actually works to reward failure and reinforce socio-economic gaps.
Rather than consolidate school districts (and let poor kids into the richer kids’ schools), guilt ridden lawmakers just blindly throw more money at the poor schools.
Take a look at a few examples:
Bamberg District 1 $11,725 (61% low income students)
Bamberg District 2 $15,560 (93% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $3,835)
Dorchester District 2 $8,679 (32% low income students)
Dorchester District 4 $15,352 (74% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $6,673)
Florence District 4 $15,888 (81% low income students)
Florence District 5 $10,270 (55% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $5,618)
Hampton District 1 $9,903 (65% low income students)
Hampton District 2 $14,248 (87% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $4,345)
Marion District 1 $9,836 (75% low income students)
Marion District 7 $14,761 (92% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $4,925)
Richland District 1 $16,886 (63% low income students)
Richland District 2 $11,620 (39% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $5,266)
Spartanburg District 2 $9,005 (41% low income students)
Spartanburg District 7 $15,980 (64% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $6,975)
York District 2 $12,798 (31% low income students)
York District 4 $10,539 (15% low income students)
(intra-county disparity: $2,259)
Sadly, most of these income disparities in funding also mirror racial lines.
Unaccountable lawmakers and bureaucrats are sinking more and more money into government schools serving low-income and minority students, despite the fact that such schools consistently fail to provide the children with an adequate (not to mention competitive) education.
The data are clear: race and income correlated gaps are growing in South Carolina, despite major reductions in most other states and despite the huge sums of money. (eg Clarendon spending $18,000 per child!) But State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex is out giving speeches and LYING about the gaps, describing the poorest schools as underfunded by up to $9,000 per child.
If the politicians in Columbia were sincere about real equality of opportunity, they would offer parents scholarships for their children to attend the magnet, charter, neighborhood, or private school of their choice. They would also consolidate districts on a one-district one-county basis to narrow these shameful funding and performance gaps.