COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee is urging the state to use sales tax revenues to get schools back on track after a learning loss pandemic.
The committee made its recommendations Monday for funding the Education Improvement Act, out of the state’s one-cent sales tax that specifically supports public education.
EOC executive director Matthew Ferguson said this year there was about $ 90 million more 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 would receive less funds during COVID, but that wasn’t the case last year or this year. Ferguson said.
The education watch committee recommends that the state prioritize three categories of use of these sales tax revenues in the next budget.
The first targets high-quality data to inform decisions, with recommendations to spend $ 3.5 million for educational data dashboards, $ 3.2 million for PowerSchool upgrades and $ 1 million the development of a school quality survey.
The second category focuses on high-quality education and materials for college and career preparation. Within that group are recommendations of $ 50 million for individual and small group tutoring, $ 33.2 million for charter schools, and $ 20 million for additional teaching 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 for teachers in the state’s worst performing schools.
“To be identified as a Palmetto Literacy Project Level 2 or Level 3 school, at least a third of your children do not meet the standards, and if you are level 3, then 50% of your children do not meet the standards. standards, ”Ferguson mentioned. “Our hypothesis would therefore be that most of these teachers would need additional support to bring the children up to standard. “
According to the EOC, less than half of South Carolina’s high school and elementary students are at their grade level in math and reading, right now in the third year of school disrupted by the pandemic.
These recommendations will then be sent to General Assembly leaders and the Governor for consideration in the next state budget.
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