South Carolina ASCD Calls for Equitable School Funding Now

On October 2, 2015 at South Carolina ASCD’s Fall Conference in Columbia, guest speaker and State Superintendent Molly Spearman addressed a banquet hall full of educators representing our students, schools, and communities.

“You’ve got that grit to stick to it and get it right,” she stated.

On behalf of South Carolina ASCD’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2015 and governing board, we urge our state lawmakers to heed Superintendent Spearman’s words in regards to the recent state Supreme Court decision in the case of the Abbeville School District v. State of South Carolina. We have seen our state’s lawmakers expedite legislation in the face of several recent challenges and implore them to work in a timely manner to properly and equally fund all school districts throughout South Carolina. We cannot afford to wait another 21 years for equitable funding.

South Carolina ASCD supports the Whole Child Initiative and its tenets as listed below:

Healthy: Each student enters schoolhealthyand learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.

Safe: Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.

Engaged: Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.

Supported: Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.

Challenged: Each graduate is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.

Sustainable: Schools implementing a whole child approach use collaboration, coordination, and integration to ensure the approach's long term success.

We propose the following to align with the Whole Child Initiative and the Profile of the SC Graduate:

  1. Comprehensive and equitable funding and long-term legislative remedies to address issues and concerns in the Abbeville School District v. State of South Carolina State Supreme Court decision.
  2. Fully fund all mandated programs to put an end to unfunded mandates. For many years, unfunded mandates coupled with legislation including Act 388 have placed increased financial burdens on county governments and school districts throughout our state, putting county governments at odds with local school districts as to which entity is most entitled to state and locally generated revenues.
  3. Fully fund the Education Finance Act – the state has failed to fully fund this legislation that provides crucial funding for school districts statewide, forcing local school districts and county governments to increase millage year after year.
  4. Enact comprehensive tax reform to achieve equitable and stable funding for all school districts – because every student, regardless of where they live, deserves a world-class education with opportunities to grow within their communities and beyond.
  5. Universal pre- and 4K programs for all students - Continued and extensive research shows the academic and developmental benefits of these programs for all students regardless of socioeconomic status. States throughout the United States that have full state funding for universal pre- and 4K programs see significant academic advancements and achievements in students that continue well into the secondary and post-secondary education years.
  6. Early identification of at-risk students and comprehensive early intervention to holistically support students and pave a path of academic success. This proactive (not reactive) approach will allow students, educators, parents, and community members to work together to help formulate and implement action plans that will benefit students.
  7. Expansion of home visitation and parent education programs will provide parents with the tools and resources to best support their children’s academic and developmental needs.

Members of the General Assembly, please do not allow time work against the future citizens of our great state. You each are charged with an awesome responsibility like every educator in this state: to protect, defend, and support the children of South Carolina.

We urge you to act now!

South Carolina ASCD Board of Directors

South Carolina ASCD Emerging Leaders