Tag Archives: school funding

SC Schools still a cash cow for consultants

consultant

In December of 2008, the State Department of Education was well aware that budget cuts would be affecting public schools across the state. Teachers and other district employees feared for their jobs, while bean counters worried that money might be too tight to even put fuel in school buses.

Even during this time of uncertainty and restricted funding, consultants were confident that fat government contracts would keep rolling in.
According to the State Comptroller General’s “Spending Transparency” site, the SC Department of Education paid out-

•    $130,500 to Insite, LLC: a “highly accomplished woman-owned assessment company, providing test development, training, and data-collection services.”
•    $211,850 to TAPFIN Process Solutions: “With a focus on human capital management, TAPFIN deploys successful solutions delivered with our commitment to people, process and technology.
•    $17,732 to Educational Resources Group: “ERG is your best resource for consultants who provide professional development services to teachers, administrators, and classroom support personnel.”
•    $37,200 to South Carolina Association of School Administrators: tax funded lobbyists
•    $15,000 to Education Builders
•    $14,695 to The Assignment Agency
•    $11,755.52 to Malachied Inc. Continue reading

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South Carolina public school funding 101

south-carolina-school-finances

In 2008, public schools in South Carolina were given $11,480 for each and every student sitting in their classrooms.

The $11,480 average (now roughly $11,000 after mid-year state budget cuts) is a lot of money. Many parents wonder where all that money comes from. Here is a brief overview of how public school funding “works” in South Carolina.

Money -aka your tax dollars- flows into public school districts from three sources. They are:

– local county government

– state government in Columbia

– federal government in Washington DC

LOCAL MONEY: This is the money raised by county governments from property taxes, local option sales taxes, local hospitality taxes, local accommodation taxes, licenses, fees, charges and bonds. In 2007 these taxes provided $5.1 billion to school districts across South Carolina, up almost 100% from $2.6 billion in 2001. This K-12 public education spending accounted for 57% of the total $8.9 billion in local government income. Continue reading

School Choice saving Florida taxpayers big bucks

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According to an editorial in The Panama City News Herald, Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability (OPPAGA) found that the state’s school choice programs saved taxpayers almost $39 million last year.

The group’s study points out that Florida public schools saved over $6,100 for every one of the 21,493 students that participated in the school choice program; altogether saving the state $118 Million in school costs for the 2007-2008 school year.

Despite some criticism of the OPPAGA study’s results, research done by Florida TaxWatch, and the Collins Center for Public Policy at Florida State University, confirms that school choice is indeed saving taxpayers serious money.

Also cited is a 2007 Friedman Foundation study, which found-

“Instructional spending per student consistently increased in all public school districts and states that were subject to voucher programs. School choice has not prevented those states and districts from spending more on the students who remain in public schools.”

Fifteen states around the nation have implemented school choice programs and reaped similar rewards in saved money, and in improved student performance. Most important is that these school choice programs have provided parents the opportunity to decide whether a public, private, or religious school will best meet the needs of their child.

If school choice can improve the lives of families in Florida, it can do the same in South Carolina. As the economy struggles, and funds grow increasingly short, South Carolina lawmakers would do well to consider the financial and academic boon that school choice has been to Florida, and implement similar measures here.

Click here to read the editorial in the online edition of The Panama City News Herald

Click here to read the Friedman Foundation study about the success of school choice in Florida

Click here to read about how school choice programs are helping parents and students in fifteen other states.

Spartanburg Parents want choice, superintendent doesn’t

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Parents in South Carolina want to have a say in where their children attend school, and some state employees who oppose the idea are scrambling to convince parents not to push for more options.

Spartanburg County has many public schools that outperform their counterparts in the state, but SAT scores show that achievement is still far behind similar districts in North Carolina. While many Spartanburg families are pleased with what local public schools have to offer, others prefer a private or Christian education for their children.

In a recent article in the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Spartanburg parent Brantlee Fulmer voiced her own concerns about where her three year old will attend school:

“ As a parent, I may or may not agree with the direction that a particular public school would go in…from a personal perspective, I prefer more of a Christian education. So, when the time comes I may choose to send my child to a Christian school.” Continue reading

Rex using school funding debate for his own ends

Recently The Voice for School Choice publicized the results of an Education Oversight Committee Report that nobody wants to talk about.  The study found that despite improvement nationwide, the achievement gap between black and white students continues to grow in the Palmetto State.

Two other national reports corroborated that low income and minority students are falling further behind in South Carolina public schools.

Despite the shameful results of these studies, Jim Rex and the rest of the public school failure apologists have chosen to ignore them so they can accumulate even more money for South Carolina’s under performing public schools.

How does Rex plan to distract people’s attention from the shameful reality of a growing achievement gap?

By manufacturing a debate about school funding. Continue reading