PRESS RELEASE: Speaker Lucas: House Introduces First Phase of Education Reform Package

House Introduces First Phase of Education Reform Package

8 bills aimed to transform SC’s education delivery system

(Columbia, SC) – House Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) released the following statement after eight bills were introduced in the House as part of the first phase of the House Education Reform package.  These bills were crafted in direct correlation with the House Education Policy and Review Task Force’s findings and recommendations.

“The Abbeville decision brought necessary attention to the critical state of South Carolina’s education delivery system.  At the end of the day, our job is to provide school districts and teachers with the tools they need to give every child the opportunity to succeed. The House Education Task Force did a tremendous job studying this complicated issue for nearly a year. This diverse and experienced group found that the best way to achieve this goal is not to reactively give our schools more money and hope for a quick fix, but to open doors so that our students receive a 21st century education,” Speaker Jay Lucas said.

“South Carolina has become a powerhouse for economic and job growth and we have a responsibility to match our education system with the needs of our emerging workforce. Focusing solely on improving conditions for rural, struggling school districts does not help our students acquire the skills they need to become college or career ready,” Speaker Lucas continued. “The eight bills filed today will allow our State Department of Education to successfully work with the business and technical college communities to offer assistance to our entire school system. They also address teacher retention, promote realistic expectations for graduates and put in place proactive measures to keep our education system competitive nationally. These common sense measures are a critical first step in the right direction for the comprehensive education reform South Carolina students deserve.”

All of the bills have been referred to committee, with a majority assigned to the Education and Public Works Committee.  Chairwoman Rita Allison, who also chaired the House Education Policy and Review Task Force, has been a champion for education reform thus far and will continue to advocate for reform as these bills continue throughout the legislative process.

“The House Education Task Force’s unique and diligent study laid the groundwork for education reform in South Carolina. Giving our teachers the ability to provide every child in South Carolina with a 21st century education starts with reducing unnecessary regulations and outdated practices. Representative Tommy Stringer, Chair of the K-12 Subcommittee, the entire Education and Public Works Committee and I will ensure that these bills advance as quickly as possible with thorough, meaningful debate,” added Chairwoman Rita Allison.

Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Education and Special Schools Chairman Kenny Bingham, who also served on the House Education Task Force, is committed to ensuring that this year’s budget will continue to offer increased support for school districts in need.

“Over the past few years, South Carolina’s state budgets have provided resources designed to effectively assist our rural and poor school districts. This year we will continue this trend and support programs and policies Governor Haley and the Department of Education have recommended as we draft a responsible budget that works to meet South Carolina’s education needs,” Representative Kenny Bingham said.


Bills included in House Education Reform package

1)   H. 4783 – Redefine the expectations of a South Carolina high school graduate

2)   H. 4781- Recreate the Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council to allow the business community to work with K-12 and higher education to ensure our students are college and career ready

3)   H. 4780 – Eliminate outdated statutes to promote efficiency and cut unnecessary expenses.  State Department would be required to offer technical assistance to struggling districts

4)   H. 4779 – Create an Office of Transformation under the Department of Education with the purpose of reviewing lower performing school districts’ plans and report back to the General Assembly with best practice suggestions

5)   H. 4776 – Establish a process with recurring revenue where struggling and poor school districts can petition the state for facility infrastructure needs

6)   H. 4778 – Call for uniformity in school accreditation

7)   H. 4782 – Conduct a survey to determine what incentives could entice new teachers to live and work in rural, lower income districts

8)   H. 4777 – Allow the state to take control if a school district is failing financially