SC public school choice bill advances in Senate

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill requiring school districts to offer educational choices and allow students to cross attendance lines is heading to the Senate floor.

The Senate Education Committee approved the measure Wednesday that requires school districts by 2014-15 to offer students at all grade levels at least one additional choice beyond the school they are zoned to attend. Options could include single-gender and Montessori programs, and magnet and charter schools.

It also allows students to attend any school regardless of attendance lines, even outside of their district. However, school officials could turn down a transfer application if a school is at capacity. They could also limit the number of yearly transfers from another attendance zone to 3 percent of a school’s population.

Former Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed a similar bill in 2007.

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