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EOC issues policy and EIA budget recommendations

Mon, 12/13/2021

EOC policy and budget recommendations focused on obtaining quality resources to assist students and teachers recover and direct attention to college- and career-readiness

EDITOR’S NOTE: The EOC held a full meeting today at 1:00 p.m. at the Blatt Building in Columbia. Recommendations to the budget were made at this meeting.

Columbia – As required by state law, the Education Oversight Committee (EOC) today approved budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2022-23. These recommendations focus on the revenues generated by the one-cent sales tax, the Education Improvement Act. The committee’s recommendations are dedicated to improving access to high quality data to inform decisions; obtaining quality materials focused on college- and career-readiness; and implementing high-quality professional learning for teachers. These recommendations will be forwarded to the Governor and General Assembly for their consideration in the upcoming budget deliberations.

Members met throughout the fall, reviewing and hearing public comment programs on budget needs and priorities. In Fiscal Year 2022-23, the penny sales tax is expected to generate an estimated $990 million dollars dedicated solely to public education. For Fiscal Year 2021-22, the current fiscal year, there is also a surplus of $89.1 million of non-recurring dollars.

“Student academic performance has declined significantly due to the disruptive impact of the pandemic, stated Dr. Bob Couch, chair of subcommittee that brought forth the recommendation to the EOC and the principal of Anderson Institute of Technology, an upstate Career Center.  “We are fortunate to have a positive economic climate now, so we must implement reasonable, quality approaches to help students and teachers move forward and improve outcomes for the young people who need us.”

In its recommendations, the EOC also concurred with the SC Department of Education (SCDE) in recommending that teacher salaries be increased by 2.2 percent in Fiscal Year 2022-23 using state General Funds. To further support teachers, the EOC recommended additional money be allocated from within EIA to support the teacher supply stipend of $275.

The Committee’s budget recommendations for the EIA are summarized as follows:

Access to high quality data to inform decisions

  • Concurring with the SC Department of Education’s request, using the $20.0 million in current year surplus to update instructional materials for students, with priority placed on ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies;
  • Allocate $3.5 million for a State Education Data Dashboard which will provide a secure, accessible web portal allowing for public data to be accessed more efficiently;
  • Increase for funding by $3.2 million for the State Student Information System, Powerschool, to increase security and allow other systems to seamlessly integrate.

Access to quality materials for college-and career-readiness

  • Pilot and implement an Artificial Intelligence (AI) high school curriculum, to include a pathway for students interested in automotive AI, using a recommended increase of $3 million;
  • Commit $50 million for high-dose, one-on-one tutoring of students who are behind in English Language Arts and mathematics;
  • With a recommended investment of $750,000, pilot an Online Course Access System for 2,500 students in the State, allowing access for students to multiple offerors of quality online courses;
  • Increase funding for Career and Technology Centers (CTEs) by $5 million to purchase necessary equipment for pathway programs that are tied to industry certifications.  

Access to high quality professional learning for teachers

  • Add ten additional days to the school calendar of Palmetto Literacy Schools, the 217 schools in the state with a high percentage of students who are scoring at the lowest level in English and math. The teachers in these schools would be provided a financial incentive of nearly $3,000 each and provided quality training in the science of reading. 
  • Increase funding to the Carolina Collaborative for Alternative Preparation (CCAP), which provides an alternative pathway to teaching, by $450,000;
  • Allocate $1 million to pilot a Getting Back on Track with Math project with SC teachers, focused on recovering learning loss in math and supporting grade-level achievement;
  • Provide $500,000 to an Action Research Project, focused on identifying promising practices in schools and school districts that lead to improved student outcomes;
  • Develop and implement an anonymous, statewide Teaching Working Conditions Survey. The results of the survey would also guide policymakers in addressing the teacher shortage. Cost of the survey would be approximately $475,000;
  • Commit $1 million for further development of the current parent, teacher, and student climate surveys, to potentially use parts in the school accountability system.

The SC Education Oversight Committee is an independent, non-partisan group made up of 18 educators, business persons, and elected leaders. Created in 1998, the committee is dedicated to reporting facts, measuring change, and promoting progress within South Carolina’s education system.