Legislative and EduNews Update

Spending Flexibility for Districts

Wes Wolfe reports that a bill for greater local autonomy for public school spending is was stuck in the House.
The State Newspaper pundits have editorialized in favor of quick passage of the bill.

Essentially, they want to be able to do what we keep demanding that all of government do but that several state laws prohibit schools from doing — fund the very most essential programs, in the most efficient way possible, and do away with anything that can be done away with.

This would make sense even if its only benefit were to keep teachers in the classrooms. But that’s not the only benefit: It gives schools an opportunity to demonstrate what they would do — under the most extreme of circumstances — if they were freed permanently from some of the mandates. If they handle this freedom responsibly, then there will be no excuse for not granting them permanent flexibility. If they do not, we’ll have some idea of what type of flexibility is warranted, and what isn’t. This experiment might even point us to additional flexibility measures no one had considered.

Wednesday morning the bill still looked like it might stall, as some advocates are arguing with other lawmakers (who claimed to support the bill but) who had begun to load the bill down with specific carve-outs and mandates in the form of amendments. But by midday the bill had finally left the house.

Minimally Adequate Political Ploy

Despite $360 million in state budget cuts for K-12 education threatening classroom teacher jobs, the rank-and-file public school teachers are still being manipulated by administrators, bureaucrats, consultants, politicians, unions and other special interests who profit like parasites from public spending on K-12 education.

In their latest “for the kids” political stunt, the taxpayer financed publicist at the State Department of Education is reporting that teachers are being coerced intoenthusiastically” signing up for the “minimally adequate” constitutional amendment. This is a push to reshuffle a few words in the State Constitution’s mandates on public education. They have suggested that cutting and pasting a few words into the Constitution will radically improve the public 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.

Tax Credits in Aiken

The State Newspaper reports that public schools in Aiken are getting help from Public Education Partners, a nonprofit that is gathering donations for school supplies for public schools.

As an IRS-recognized charity, the organization is able to provide tax deductions to individuals who make contributions. Donations may be sent to Public Education Partners, P.O. Box 3821, Aiken, SC, 29802, with “SOS funds” designated on the check.

Under a school choice law, donors would also be eligible for a state tax deduction or credit for such donations.

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