While South Carolina’s lawmakers will not return to the Statehouse in Columbia until January, many have already pre-filed legislation they hope to pass in the coming session.
Here is a brief overview of the bills that will have a major impact on public schools public education in South Carolina:
* H. 3095 extends the existing 1-year induction contract for new public school classroom teachers into a 5-year induction period. The longer induction period gives principals more leeway in making training and retention decisions. Sponsored by: Clemmons (R-Horry).
* H. 3096 narrows the broadly used definition of a “classroom teacher” based on a minimum required classroom instruction time. The wide use of “teacher” as a budget category has led to huge accounting disparities between the self-reported finances of the State Department of Education and analysis by the State Budget and Control Board. Sponsored by: Bowen (R-Anderson).
* H. 3100 repeals the recently implemented uniform school opening date requirement. The intent of the original legislation was to slow the annual creep of district start date which occur several days earlier each year. Sponsored by: Kirsch (D-York).
* H. 3102 requires that all public school districts maintain an average daily membership (or “attendance”) of 10,000 students in order to continue receiving state support. There are 27 counties (and 63 districts) which have enrollment under 10,000. Sponsored by: E.H. Pitts (R-Lexington).
* H. 3112 introduction of the so-called “high quality” language into the State Constitution. It calls for a re-write of the State Constitution’s mandates on public education. Authors have suggested that cutting and pasting a few words into the SC Constitution will radically improve the $11,480 per student schools. In actuality, this will do nothing more than invite another expensive and fruitless series of lawsuits, reminiscent of the fruitless 10-year “Corridor of Shame” trials. More details about this controversial proposal here. Sponsors: McLeod (D-Newberry), Agnew (D-Abbeville), Gambrell (R-Anderson), Pinson (R-Greenwood), Spires (R-Lexington), Toole (R-Lexington), Bowers (D-Hampton), Funderburk (D-Kershaw), Harvin (D-Clarendon), Hodges (D-Colleton), Howard (D-Richland) and Sellers (D-Bamberg).