District 55 School Board Opposes Tax Credits for Private School Parents

    Last night’s Laurens County District 55’s school board meeting was the last official meeting of 2012, with the December meeting planned as a holiday lunch at Waterloo Elementary.

  Sanders Middle School Principal George Ward gave his school’s report, which was mostly comment on the schools grade on the recently released South Carolina’s Annual School Report Card Summary.    Sanders received an average absolute rating on performance, but last year it was rated below average. “I am proud of our faculty, staff, and students for their efforts to improve, but we still need to get better,” said Ward.

     The entire district also was given an average absolute rating, after scoring a below average grade last year.

      On Board Action, Strickland asked the board to approve a resolution provided by the South Carolina School Boards Association to oppose any tuition tax credit or voucher programs, which would give parents a tax credit if they send their children to private schools.

     The resolution states that its opposition to those programs is based on the fear that it would undermine public education.

    It refers to the fact that over the last several years,South Carolina’s public schools have had funding cuts which total eight hundred fifty million dollars. Those cuts reduced the base student cost to one thousand eight hundred and eighty dollars, while state law requires that cost to be two thousand seven hundred ninety dollars.

      The resolution also argues that private schools are not subject to the same requirements as public ones, and that it would be detrimental to the state’s constitutional responsibility to provide at least a minimal education to all of its students. The proclamation urges the Laurens County Legislative Delegation, as well as every member of the South Carolina General Assembly to vote against any tuition tax credit voucher programs or any attempt to divert public education dollars to private intuitions.

    The resolution needs the signature of each board member. Trustee Jim Lollis, the only vote against the resolution, said he would sign it since it was approved by the board. Lollis said that the reason he voted against it was, “I believe that parents should decide what school their children attend, and that if we have the best schools we will be the choice.”