What does the governor’s education proposal include and how does it affect school districts?

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Governor Henry McMaster’s new education funding proposal was included in the state budget that the House passed and now goes to the Senate.

“Funding in our state is convoluted, complex and unresponsive to the needs of the individual students and school districts,” said Mick Zais, former South Carolina state superintendent.

Governor McMaster says he hopes his education funding proposal gives school districts flexibility on how to spend money instead of forcing them to spend on certain things.

“This removes that,” the governor said .”It lumps a lot of the funds together. They can use it as they want.”

School districts do have to raise the starting teaching salary to $40,000. Teachers who make more than this do not necessarily have to get a raise but school districts can use funds to pay teachers

“It’s important that we pay our teachers a fair salary that will attract the best and the brightest,” Zais said.

McMaster says all districts will see an increase in funds through the proposal.

“227 million more. The average district is getting 5.6 percent more. No district is getting less,” McMaster said.

The governor also emphasized another part of the proposal that will hold school districts accountable, an online spending disclosure dashboard.

“That will be an easy to understand, operate and navigate dashboard that shows where the money is going to the districts and schools and what the money is being spent on,” McMaster said. “Also, we will have test scores and other things to show how the schools are doing.”

Former state superintendents approve of the proposal and say it can have a big impact on education in the Palmetto State.

“This bill as written has the potential to transform public education in South Carolina and move us from near the bottom to near the top of the rankings in the United States,” Zais said.

“We want the best for every student and school district so they can have the quality of life to be able to succeed. It’s really simple,” said former state superintendent Barbara Nielsen. “It’s a hard discussion but it’s a simple solution.”

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