Fair funding in schools, disparity among districts can be in the - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Fair funding in schools, disparity among districts can be in the millions

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South Carolina schools are not in control of how much money they have to spend on students, instead the children depend on the wealth of the districts for the amount allowed per pupil.

 At Summerville High School, the classrooms could hold the key to countless jobs, but fall short with donated computers from over a decade ago.

"Is that what they're going to face?" Rebecca Jackson, DD2 Science Interventionist, questioned the school's standard versus real job expectations.

"We have to say to our students we can't afford it, we can't afford it so instead we're going to come here and you're going to just look at it and not touch and feel it," Summerville teacher, Alice Kelley said.

Dorchester District 2 is one of the most under-funded districts in the state. Thousands of students in DD2 start each school year already lacking what other South Carolinians are handed on the first day.

Click here for more about what DD2 schools are doing to overcome funding disparity.


Representative Jenny Horne wrote a bill that would change the way all schools in the state receive money. That bill, HB 4407, would give DD2 $17 million more a year, adding teachers and program funding at Summerville High School, Fort Dorchester High School and Ashley Ridge High School.

"They would have some advantages that other districts can provide that we simply cannot afford to provide in Dorchester District 2," Horne said.

Although, she admits some districts across SC would end up receiving less money per pupil.

"This bill is designed to marry the business community with public education so that they're all working together," she said. "Overall this is a way overdue revision of the education funding formulas because they're 30-years-old and they're just simply antiquated."

District CFO, Allyson Duke, said a couple years ago a bond referendum took Summerville High from depreciating to functional. Now she said they need more funds to allow the community a fighting chance at producing the next generation of the workforce.

"We would have the same amount spent as up in another part of the state or Columbia, or are all around the state, so it would level the playing field," Duke said.

Horne is up for re-election. Her opponents disagree with HB 4407.

Franklin Smith said he thinks it would ultimately raise taxes and put more government in place. Instead, he suggests giving parents the right to choose their child's school.

Evan Guthrie, another district opponent, said he is against HB 4407 because he thinks it takes away local government control.

The bill goes before a subcommittee later this week.

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