Across South Carolina

Haley aims to spend more on poor kids


WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday announced an education plan that spends more money on poor children, focuses on reading in the early grades and improves technology in schools.

Haley’s proposal would spend more than $160 million extra in the next fiscal year on public schools. The Republican governor said this must be the first of a multiyear effort to transform South Carolina’s schools within the next decade.

Her proposal includes spending an additional $97 million on children who live in poverty, $30 million to hire additional reading coaches in elementary schools and $29 million to improve Internet and wireless capabilities in schools. The state would fully cover the cost of a reading coach for several hundred elementary schools where a substantial number of students score poorly on standardized reading tests. The coaches would be partially funded at others. Technology money would be distributed based on district poverty ratings.

The plan also puts more money toward summer reading camps, teacher training in reading and technology, charter schools and adult education classes. A detailed breakdown is expected as part of her executive budget proposal for 2014-15.

Judge blasts inmate mental health care

COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s prison system is failing to care for its mentally ill inmates and needs systemic change to fix the problem, a judge ruled Wednesday.

In his 45-page ruling, Circuit Judge Michael Baxley gave the state Department of Corrections six months to formulate a plan on how to deal with better serving its mentally ill inmates.

In his order, Baxley cited a number of deficiencies in treatment of the mentally ill, including failure to properly diagnose inmates when they enter the system and medicate them. Baxley also said prisons don’t have enough mental health professionals, don’t keep records to assure prisoners are getting proper treatment and rely excessively on force such as pepper spray and solitary confinement.

Boy, 6, dies crossing highway to bus stop

NORTH, S.C. — Authorities say a 6-year-old boy has been struck and killed while crossing U.S. Highway 178 to get to his bus stop in Orangeburg County.

Troopers said the bus was nearing the bus stop but had not made it when the boy crossed the road about 7:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Investigators say the boy was hit by a pickup truck going east not far from the town of North. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released.

In other news

THE STATE’S TOP prosecutor has the authority to try criminal domestic violence cases in municipal and magistrate courts throughout South Carolina, according to an opinion Wednesday by the state’s highest court. The high court had been mulling a request from Attorney General Alan Wilson, who asked justices to affirm his authority to try such cases.

DEPUTIES SAY A MAN who tried to hide his face with duct tape robbed a Dollar General store in Charleston County. Investigators said witnesses told them the man entered the store about 10 p.m. Tuesday, pointed a gun at employees and demanded money. He took more than $1,000 from registers and the store’s safe.