State schools

SC’s efforts to get schools across the state back on track

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – South Carolina’s Education Oversight Committee is encouraging the state to use sales tax revenue to get schools back on track after pandemic learning loss .

The committee made its recommendations Monday for funding the Education Improvement Act, from the one-cent state sales tax that specifically supports public education.

EOC executive director Matthew Ferguson said this year there was about an additional $90 million in EIA funding from this tax.

“South Carolina did a lot better than I think a lot of people expected. I think we all thought we were getting less funding during COVID, but that wasn’t really the case this year. last or this year,” Ferguson said.

The Education Oversight Committee recommends that the state prioritize three categories in the use of these sales tax revenues in the upcoming budget.

The first targets high-quality data to inform decisions, with recommendations to spend $3.5 million on education data dashboards, $3.2 million on PowerSchool upgrades, and $1 million on the development of a school quality survey.

The second category focuses on high-quality teaching and materials for college and career readiness. Within this group are recommendations of $50 million for one-to-one and small-group tutoring, $33.2 million for charter schools, and $20 million for additional educational materials, among other recommended allocations.

The EOC’s final recommendations focus on developing high-quality teachers, with spending targeting recruitment and retention.

This includes $34 million to provide additional paid training days on teaching reading to teachers in the state’s worst-performing schools.

“To be identified as a Palmetto Literacy Project level 2 or 3 school, at least a third of your children do not meet the standard, and if you are level 3, then 50% of your children do not meet the standard. standard,” Ferguson mentioned. “So our hypothesis would be that most of these teachers would need extra support to get the kids up to speed.”

Less than half of middle and elementary school students in South Carolina are up to grade in math and reading, in the pandemic-disrupted third school year, according to the EOC.

These recommendations will then be sent to General Assembly leaders and the governor for consideration in the next state budget.

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