A budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year proposed by members of the South Carolina House of Representatives would take over $37 million of a $45 million revenue stream traditionally devoted to education funding and divert those funds for use to repair roads in the state. The diversion of these funds would, among other things, impact money available to schools to provide classroom technology and end funding of several statewide professional development centers.
This decision comes at the same time South Carolina was ranked 50th in the nation in education in U.S. News and World Report’s recently published list. The U.S. News rankings emphasize the connection between economic investment in education and the quality of education in a state. Lauren Camera, in explaining the U.S. News education rankings, notes that South Carolina has “long suffered from a lack of state and local investments in education.” This is a trend that appears to be continuing as legislators prioritize the funding of roads over the funding of classrooms. The budget proposed in the House of Representatives is likely to undergo significant revision in the coming months, and the process will provide opportunities for the state’s legislators to commit funding toward improving South Carolina’s schools.