Rural Districts Criticize S.C. Legislature's Plan for Schools
Rural school districts in South Carolina say the state's lawmakers have failed to create a court-ordered plan to improve rural school districts, according to the Associated Press.
Lawmakers were required to submit a plan by the end of this year's legislative session in response to a 2014 state Supreme Court order, which called for officials and school districts to find ways to improve struggling low-income schools in the state. That order was the result of a lawsuit on behalf of more than two dozen poor and rural school districts, which claimed the state had failed to provide a "minimally adequate" education for years for their students, due to a lack of funds for poor and rural districts.
Although a plan was filed by lawmakers this year, the rural school districts say it is inadequate, and simply lists bills and describes meetings that were held to discuss rural districts, rather than offering suggestions or next steps. In a response to the plan filed with the court last week, attorneys for the rural districts claim the legislative plan "only details the extent to which the state studied the problems, but fails to set forth a remedial plan or a timeline for implementation as required."
Since the court's ruling, lawmakers have proposed various solutions such as consolidating schools or raising teacher salaries, although little has happened with those proposals. Most recently, lawmakers approved $1.5 million for a study that will identify the poor and rural districts that most need additional funding to improve school facilities.