November 21, 2021


by: admin


Tags: dollars, education, Effort, Public, Seeks, siphon, Voucher


Categories: Special needs education

Voucher effort seeks to siphon SC public training {dollars}

Look for another education war in 2022 when key Republican leaders come up with a bill that would siphon off public education funds under the guise of “freedom of education” from private schools.


SC Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, recently emailed the Palmetto Promise Institute to advance H. 3976, a bill it tabled in February to provide “educational grant accounts” for tens of thousands of spring programs or students to set up special needs. Anyone participating in the proposed program would receive approximately $ 5,000 per year in an online savings account that is used for a student’s education.

A 2020 version of the bill, which envisaged a similar mechanism limited to students with special needs, was expected to cost up to $ 456 million per year for approximately 67,000 eligible students. The new version could dramatically increase the number of attendees with a greatly increased fiscal impact, said Statehouse insiders.

Erickson did not respond to multiple requests. But in the email, she wrote that the move, which included House Speaker Jay Lucas and 62 other, mostly GOP members, as co-sponsors, “put low and middle income families in control in an unprecedented way and would allow choice about their children’s education ”. seen in South Carolina. It would position the Palmetto state as a leader in freedom of education and set the stage for a student-centered educational revolution. “

However, proponents of the SC Education Association say such rhetoric provides good-sounding buzzwords that mask a dangerous potential shift towards education vouchers that would divert millions of public tuition from private school districts.

SCEA Executive Director Todd Jaeck said Erickson’s bill reflected attempts in other states to dismantle public schools.


“By withdrawing state funds in separate accounts and expanding eligibility, the money leaves the local public school and” follows “the student even if the student returns to the local public school, where educators proudly admit all of the South Carolina children educate, “he says called.

“Shrouded in language like ‘choice’ and ‘scholarship’, this bill seeks to create the illusion that it offers opportunities. However, the reality of the bill is robbing many children of opportunities by diverting much-needed funds from the schools and institutions that all children are required to take in, take in and raise. “

Oran Smith, a senior fellow at the conservative Palmetto Promise Institute, recently told Statehouse Report that Erickson’s proposal was part of a national trend. In the past two years, 18 states have added or expanded similar programs that are working successfully, he said.

State Rep. Jason Elliott, R-Greenville, said the move would allow families to obtain an online savings account that the parent or guardian would manage. The funding would be around $ 5,000 per student per year and could be used for home or private school classes, books, transportation, or other school services.

While the bill is already supported by a majority of the House of Representatives, it is still meeting with opposition.

Patrick Kelly, director of government affairs for the Palmetto State Teachers Association, said she had accountability issues, such as administrative costs and safeguards, to ensure equal access. He also noted that “school choices” were available through charter schools across the state.

Last year, the SC Supreme Court ruled against an attempt by GOP Governor Henry McMaster to use $ 32 million in federal pandemic aid dollars to fund private school scholarships.

The fight over the measure is slated to begin in January, when the legislature resumes.

Columbia reporter Al Dozier contributed to this story.

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