The Charleston branch of the NAACP plans spoke out against tax credits offered to offset private school tuition. The meeting was prompted by a Senate bill in sponsored by Charleston Senator Robert Ford, an outspoken advocate of equal rights. He says this bill will actually give all students access to a better education versus a select few in better districts.
Last week, the senate education subcommittee members considered two bills dealing with school choice. One to enhance public school choice and another to expand private school options with public funds.
Richland Senator Joel Lourie praised Richland School District Two efforts at public school choice, citing the separate programs his children are in, and led the Democrats in a quiet but assertive push against Ford’s Bill.
Senator Ford pushed back by saying those are private schools with public money implying that both Lourie’s children enjoyed the magnate school because of his influence and that most students in South Carolina did not have “that luxury”.
Ford urged fellow lawmakers to let his bill wait until part two of this legislative session, which begins again next year.
“There is no rush,” he said. “That (the bill) is brought to those parents out there that really want the General Assembly to look out for them.”
Some Republicans, like Berkeley’s Larry Grooms, wanted to study the bill some more as well, as the Board of Economic Advisers and lobbyist Burney Maybank presented separate and exhaustive reports. “I don’t want to be a fly in the ointment today,” said Grooms.
“I think this bill needs to be vetted before the entire Senate on the floor where we can have an open and honest discussion about what this bill does and does not do. For those reasons, I do plan on voting for the bill.”
The subcommittee responded by voting 6-4 to send the bill to the full Senate Education Committee with a negative recommendation.