Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Poor SC

South Carolina is the butt of a lot of jokes. We are last or nearly last in so many of the important aspects of life in a free society. SC is 5th from the bottom in unemployment and personal income, 49th in traffic fatalities involving a drunk driver, 46th in overall health. We are the 8th laziest state in the nation. (

We rank 46th in infant mortality, 48th in prenatal care, 49th in violent crime and 49th in high school graduation. ( We have one of the highest incarceration rates among the fifty states (524 per 100,000 citizens -

None of these statistics include Mark Sanford's Appalachian Trail.

So it is a wonder why there are so many leaders in our state who seem to be working against public education, the one way we could ensure a better future for our state. Is there any question that a better educated citizenry will bring us up in every single category listed above (well, maybe not the Appalachian Trail thing)? The following story is printed from SC's The State newspaper from today's paper.

Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed $213 million in proposed state spending Tuesday, including $76 million for K-12 education and $12.4 million to buy new school buses.

Haley vetoed $106 million in the state’s proposed $6 billion general fund budget, including:

• The entire $1.9 million budget for the state Arts Commission

• $6 million for the Educational Television network

• State money to pay for the 2012 Republican presidential primary

The governor also vetoed $107 million in spending from a separate state reserve fund, including $10 million for economic development, $5.5 million for tourism advertising, $38 million for maintenance at state colleges, and $13 million for the state’s technical schools to train workers for Boeing’s new North Charleston aircraft plant. Haley said the state should save the money to head off future budget shortfalls.

Lawmakers will meet today to debate whether to sustain or override Haley’s vetoes.

Education hard hit

Education was the hardest hit area, accounting for $95 million of Haley’s general fund vetoes for the fiscal year that starts Friday.

Those vetoes drew criticism from school groups.

“It makes no sense to say you are for more jobs and at the same time dismantle the very tools – public schools – necessary to ensure a strong economy,” said Debbie Elmore, spokeswoman for the S.C. School Board’s Association. “Her actions today … will cause many to question her commitment to public school students, their future and, in turn, our state’s economic future.”

Haley defended the vetoes as part of her push to emphasize school performance, rather than school funding. (OK, what exactly does that mean other than public schools will have about the same funding as they did in 1996 with far more students? - Tim) Even with the vetoes, she said, classroom funding would increase by more than $100 million from this fiscal year.

“We could give double this budget to education and there would be people saying it’s not enough,” Haley said, without specifying how much money public education should get. “It needs to go to students in the classroom.”

But Kathy Maness, director of the Palmetto State Teachers Association, said Haley was off the mark with her veto. “The money is going to the base student cost (that pays for direct classroom spending) so that we’ll have smaller class sizes; so we’ll have books and instructional materials,” Maness said.

Haley also vetoed spending for ETV.

Prodded by Haley, the Legislature had eliminated $9.6 million in taxpayer cash for ETV, replacing it with fees that state agencies would pay the network for its services. Haley vetoed nearly $6 million of that spending swap.

“It needs to be privatized,” Haley said of ETV. ”We need to make sure that they are a pay-for-service organization, and we’re working with that board to help make that happen.”

Read more:


Chris Hass said...

Hey, the girls and I are headed out onto "Mark Sanford's Appalachian Trail" tomorrow for a short trip through Virginia's Grayson Highland State Park. Maybe we'll see him?

Looking at the stats, at least we can say we're consistent.

Scott and Malisa Johnson said...

What would Jon Stewart do if it weren't for South Carolina?

School funding is such a hard thing. We can all tell horror stories of how we've seen education money spent. (My district paid for a super-expensive computer program license for every school that amounts to nothing more than a glorified worksheet.)

No doubt schools in SC will continue to feel the pinch. I just wish that the money we do have could be spent without political restriction, rules, or state or federal guidelines.