Public School funding plan for South Carolina

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South Carolina’s 2009-10 budget bill is moving through the legislative sausage factory.

After receiving third reading in the House, H. 3560, the appropriations bill for 2009-2010, received first reading in the Senate on March 11th and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

The single largest item in this budget is K-12 public education.

According to H. 3560, the “base student cost” for the current fiscal year has been determined to be $2,342 (down from $2,578 last year). The total statewide pupil count is projected to be 691,816 (up from 690,363 last year).

This “base student cost” is the basis of a complicated formula that dictates the district-specific calculations for state and local government spending on public education in South Carolina. It gets a lot of press but only covers only a small fraction of the total public funding of education.

In 2008-09, while the base student cost was only $2,578, the total average per-student spending in public schools was $11,480. Of that sum $4,867 came from the state government in Columbia, $1,097 from the federal government, and a further $5,516 from local governments in South Carolina.

Parents know that for too long, these huge sums of money have not translated into effective education.

From a 55% dropout rate to persistently failing schools, to sheer bureaucratic waste of public money and a skyrocketing achievement gap, public officials have thus far provided nothing but excuses.

Thankfully, some lawmakers are committed to real change. They are sponsoring the SC Education Opportunity Act. This bill will allow parents a real choice. It will reward engaged parents who make responsible choices for their children by providing them with modest tax credits. It will similarly reward corporations that donate money to charities that provide low-income children with scholarships. This also means more money for public schools and smaller class sizes.

Both Democrats and Republicans in the South Carolina Senate have realized that School Choice is the long-overdue reform that families, students and taxpayers deserve.

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2 responses to “Public School funding plan for South Carolina

  1. Until the average citizen in South Carolina wakes up and begins to get upset about the situation going on here, we just are not going to see any progress. 500 kids drop out of school here every day and every day that number grows. Add them to the poverty role permanently. We are not providing hope, which is the one thing that public education ought to instill; the belief that I can learn, I can acheive, I can be something. In that regard we are failing miserably because schools are chronically underfunded in our rural and inner city districts. Not only are they underfunded but in many cases they are also mismanaged. We have political fiefdoms where crony-ism is the norm and districts are political protectorates with high paying jobs for friends and family. Forget consolidating districts to reduce administrative costs, forget maximizing the impact of talented leaders, forget progress, welcome to South Carolina.

  2. Dan Richardson, Trustee

    A start for the Budget would be to cut/slash all funding from the school funds that support the current K2; K3; K4; and K5 “baby sitting programs.

    Families should take care of their children, providing “family care” and if needs be baby sitting until of sufficient age to attend “First Grade” schooling.

    Then and only then should the Public School System “TEACH” all to read effectively at “their” grade level.

    Advancement to next grade level “ONLY” after attaining the required “KNOWLEDGE” and “EXPERIENCE” prescribed.

    Teachers are required to “perform” acts that parents should have accomplished prior to enrolling their children in the school system.

    Studies have been made that clearly show some improvements are made when early placements of K2,3,4 &5 children. But, there are many that show the gains are slowly lost and even become harmful later in the Elementary Grades.

    We (taxpayers) should not be required to support / supplement the Responsibilities a Parent.

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