COLUMBIA - Underachieving South Carolina schools would get about $8 million more next year under a proposal a House subcommittee approved Monday.
The plan, estimated to cost $70 million, would give $100,000 to schools that scored below average on state report cards released earlier this month and $360,000 to schools labeled unsatisfactory.
The original recommendations provided to a subcommittee of the Education Oversight Committee divvied up the technical assistance allocation. For example, $15 million for teacher specialists, $799,000 for external review teams, $1.7 million for retraining grants.
But the committee chose, instead, to give schools a lump sum.
"To let them address their education needs, rather than prescribed (solutions)," said EOC program coordinator Melanie Barton, who helped write the recommendations.
Sixty-five schools earned an "unsatisfactory" mark on the November report cards. Among them was Lloyd-Kennedy Charter School in Aiken County.
An additional 222 scored below average, including 10 schools in Aiken, Barnwell and Edgefield counties.
Ms. Barton said underachieving schools will receive about $62 million in "technical assistance" funds this year.
EOC Executive Director Jo Anne Anderson said she shares others' frustrations with South Carolina's academic progress.
"Our performance is not keeping up with our aspirations," Ms. Anderson said.
The solution, she said, must be comprehensive, addressing health care, parental influence, early childhood education. Among the subcommittee's other budgetary recommendations:
- Make $25 million in summer school funding an annual allotment.
- Give the $3 million Palmetto Gold and Silver program, which rewards high-performing schools, an additional $2 million.
- Fully fund the gifted and talented program while directing a higher percentage to artistically gifted students.
The full EOC will hear the recommendations Dec. 12. If approved, the plan will be presented to Gov. Mark Sanford and the House of Representatives.