A bill to expand public school choice has made it to the Senate Floor, but it’s not likely to be taken up this year. Co-sponsor and Education Committee Chairman, John Courson says he thinks the bills chances are good, but for next year.
“We’ve passed this legislation in the past in the Senate,” he says, “the House has passed it and the governor has vetoed it. But I think the overwhelming vote in committee in favor of the bill is indicative that the Senate will receive it well next year.”
The committee unanimously supported York Senator Wes Hayes’ bill to improve choices within public school districts.
In the education committee, Senator Larry Grooms of Berkeley and Greg Ryberg of Aiken pushed to expand the bill to include tax breaks for private schools. That move was decisively defeated.
Courson and others say the public school choice bill must come first. “I think we’ve made tremendous strides in public education in South Carolina in the past 10 years. The amount of revenue has increased 61 percent in a 10-year period, even though the number of students has only increased five percent. We’ve expanded the charter school program, we’ve adopted virtual schools, we’re dong some innovative things in public education which I think will pay dividends in the future.”
Another bill to provide tax credits for parents who want to send thier children to private school was sent back to subcommittee, almost assuring its defeat.