South Carolina senators suggesting education bill changes

State News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — State senators have started suggesting changes to a massive bill meant to overhaul South Carolina education.

Among the first amendments proposed Tuesday would add three teachers to the South Carolina School Board. Other proposals expected to come up for debate are changes to student start dates, a teachers’ bill of rights and vouchers to allow public money to pay for private schools or programs.

Senate leaders said debate could last the rest of the month.

The overhaul measure involves schools of every type and grade level, from prekindergarten to technical schools. The bill covers administrative issues ranging from standardized testing to school management.

The House passed its own proposal in March 2019.

The Senate bill has substantial changes, such as allowing the state to disband a school board if the South Carolina Department of Education takes over because of failing schools. The South Carolina School Boards Association said removing a legally elected board likely would be a Voting Rights Act violation.

“It’s an issue of voters being disenfranchised,” said Scott Price, association executive director.

Democratic Sen. Mike Fanning from Great Falls promised a number of amendments, saying the bill does little to reform schools and is opposed by grassroots teacher group SC for Ed.

State Senate Democrats will hold a press conference Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. in opposition of school vouchers.

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