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2019 EIA Budget Recommendations

Mon, 12/09/2019

EOC policy and budget recommendations focused on improving student outcomes and strengthening the teaching profession

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 2020-21. 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 educational opportunities and outcomes for students and to supporting the teaching profession. 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 2020-21 the penny sales tax is expected to generate a total of $930 million, dollars dedicated solely to public education. For Fiscal Year 2019-20, the current fiscal year, there is also an unexpected surplus of $31.2 million of non-recurring dollars.

“The committee is committed to making certain that these recommendations are focused on improving outcomes and opportunities for young people,” stated Dr. Bob Couch, chair of subcommittee that brought forth the recommendation to the EOC. “We have to work to ensure that all students graduate with the world-class knowledge and skills and characteristics of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.”

In its recommendations, the EOC also concurred with the SC Department of Education (SCDE) in recommending that teacher salaries be increased by five percent in Fiscal Year 2020-21 using state General Funds. To further support teachers, the EOC recommended additional money for the Teaching Fellows Program be allocated as well as the implementation of a statewide survey among teachers of working conditions.

“Fixing the teacher shortage crisis in our state will take more than money,” stated Couch, an Anderson educator.” “The working conditions of educators cannot be overlooked and are often a better indicator of why teachers do not remain in the classroom.”

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

Improving Student Outcomes

  • Using the $31.2 million in current year surplus, dedicate the money to update instructional materials for students;
  • Allocate $56,100 for the state to obtain a statewide contract with the National Student Clearinghouse, providing information about SC high school graduates success in post-secondary institutions;
  • Increase funding of $1.2 million to fund professional learning for computer science and create regional positions focused on assisting schools with implementing computer science standards in schools;
  • Increase funding of $5.5 million for charter schools;
  • To pilot a team-based approach to the medical home model with organizations like Healthy Start which are focused on parent education and early childhood readiness, allocate an increase of $750,000 to Reach Out and Read of the Carolinas;
  • Increase funding of $500,000 to expand the Arts Curricular grants in SC schools;
  • Increase funding of $1.5 million to imitation the development of an artificial intelligence curriculum for high school students leading to a completer pathway;
  • And allocate $49.4 million to establish a competitive grants program to recognize and reward innovation in schools. Modeled after programs like the Innovation Fund Foundation in Georgia, priority should be given to schools and districts who serve children in high poverty.

Strengthening the Teaching Profession

  • Increase funding of $437,500 to expand the University of SC’s Carolina TIP program, which mentors first-year teachers;
  • Increase the number of Teaching Fellows scholarships to 250. The mission of the South Carolina Teaching Fellows Program is to recruit talented high school seniors into the teaching profession and help them develop leadership qualities. Each year, the program High school seniors who have exhibited high academic achievement, a history of service to their school and community, and a desire to teach in South Carolina, are the recipients. Total increase: $1.8 million; 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: $250,000.


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.