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
Strengthening the Teaching Profession
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.