South Carolina K-12 News Roundup

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Upstate lawmaker calls for greater budget oversight of local school districts (WSPA):

Spartanburg School District 7’s controversial deal with the private Country Club of Spartanburg has prompted Rep. Joey Millwood, R-Landrum, to introduce a new bill at the Statehouse that would require all school districts to be independently audited.

Spartanburg District 7 will pay the country club $200,000, plus another $5,000 a year, to allow the golf teams from Spartanburg High to play and practice on the golf course. Rep. Millwood says, “$200,000 for a private golf course blew my mind.“ But he says he’s just as troubled by the fact that the district is paying a new superintendent-elect $170,000, which is more than the superintendent makes.

“I want to see if there’s any spending waste,“ he says.

From the Greenville News: “Education called ‘key’ to fixing high jobless rates” (link):

The difficulty for rural areas, [David] Barkley said, is that new jobs tend to be created in high-tech fields or in support services. Those businesses tend to want to locate in metropolitan areas because skilled labor wants to locate in metro areas….

But “education is the key. They have to have a well-educated, well-trained labor force,” Barkley said.

[Bruce] Yandle agreed: “Transportation arteries matter. Education matters.”

That means keeping students in high school until graduation and increasing post-secondary education participation, Barkley and Yandle said.

Jim Foster, the taxpayer-salaried publicist for Jim Rex, embarrassingly contradicts himself:

In the Charleston Post and Courier Foster cites a total of “$334 million in budget cuts” in state funding to public schools, just days after denouncing that number as “false” and “misleading” in the Orangeburg Times and Democrat.

The Rock Hill Herald reports on forced teacher furloughs

Fort Mill school officials are looking at how much money the district could save by forcing employees to take unpaid leave.

“We talked about furloughs,” said Fort Mill schools superintendent Keith Callicutt, “but only within the context of what other districts are talking about across the state.

“Our goal and our desire is that we don’t have to do that. But I can’t guarantee that. Nobody can.”

Districts don’t have the authority to furlough teachers, but a bill circulating among state House committees would give them temporary freedom from rules.

Under the bill, districts could furlough teachers for up to five days, skip some testing and increase class sizes. One caveat is that teachers could be off only on days when students aren’t in school, such as teacher work days.

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