Lawmakers Propose Financial Changes In The Education System In 2014

The lawmakers of South Carolina proposed changes in public schools related funding of the K-12 system. The new bill to be discussed during the legislative session 2014 includes ‘offering advertisement space in the school busses’ to the ‘selection of the trustees of the state-funded colleges and universities’.

Joshua Putnam of Anderson and Fairfield County, a Republican representative and Mary Gail Douglas, Democratic representative proposed a bill to offer commercials in the school buses. The commercials ought to be child affable and shall be on display in public school buses that are not possessed by the school or school districts. The funds that flow in from such advertisements can be used to buy new buses. The oldest fleet in the country, the statewide run school buses is operational only in South Carolina.

The new proposed bill “The South Carolina Jobs, Education and Tax Act” would revise the present Education Finance Act. It is observed that the implementation of the Education Finance Act led to the imparting of fewer funds to comparatively richer school districts. 

The new bill filed by Jenny Anderson Horne, representative of the Dorchester County Republican, proposes formation of a distinct fund as “South Carolina Public Education Program Fund”. This fund would not be a part of the general fund of the state.

untitledA chief constituent of the new proposed funding system is the 100-mill property tax implemented statewide. The new change will replace the penny sales tax which was swapped by the Legislature in 2007 with property taxes for school operations.

The new bill also will re-instate local school’s authority for the operational issues of a maximum up to eight percent of the assessed property value that is within the limits of the district.

4The new bill, unlike the present one, does not guarantee “at least minimum” education but,  states that each student will receive education as per their need that will be imparted using the proven research-based strategies for high academic values. It will ensure that the academic achievement goals are met as per the guidelines laid by the state law and the state constitution.

The other bills propose various other changes related to schools and education and one such 3change included setting up of full day schedule for the kindergarten students and a systematic approach to deal with the bullies. Some more changes pertaining to the safety of the schools have been proposed as well.  “House Bill 4413” proposes setting up a web portal where the complaints of bullying in schools can be reported while all the volunteers and school employees shall be provided protection against any lawsuits filed by their employers under Bill 843 of the Senate.

Other Senate bills such as 884 propose taking demographic representation into account while filling in the positions of the board of trustees while Bill 810 proposes formation of a special commission to filter eligible candidates for the position of a trustee in any institute imparting higher education.

Some more proposed considerations include

  • 2A compulsory electrocardiogram test  for students who would participate in any athletic programs in high school
  • An installment system of college fees for students, if they ascertain to pay a fixed percentage of their earning spread over a definite number of years after graduating.
  • The novel methods of screening, recruiting and certifying the teachers
  •  Utilization of the Federal funding allocated to K-12 institutes.
  • Waiver of eligibility criterion for participation in sports and athletics for students absent under a medical condition.

The Education Oversight Committee formed in 1990s, as the autonomous accountability panel is proposed to be put to rest.

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