Gov. Haley releases education budget proposal

Gov. Haley releases education budget proposal

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Governor Nikki Haley released her 7.5 billion dollar spending plan for 2016 today. The proposal is a recommendation for the fiscal year ahead which starts July first.  Among her priorities, $300 million is toward education.

The South Carolina Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearman is at 21st Century Skills Conference in Myrtle Beach this weekend at the Embassy Suites, Kingston Plantation, sponsored by the South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators.

"Our teachers work so hard. They truly are the silver bullet that can make a difference every day in children's lives, so I'm here to honor them and to say thank you for what they do every day all across South Carolina," Spearman said.

This weekend conference attracts and honors South Carolina's best educators.  It's a chance for them to  learn new techniques and strategies to bring to the classroom. Classrooms that are dependent on state dollars.

Spearman commented on Governor Haley's proposed budget for this year's education funding. She says she's pleased with the increase for base student costs of about $165 million increased per-student spending distributed to school districts. "That's so important to school districts because that's how they pay for their teachers, so any increase they can get I think the Governor's proposal is about an eighty dollar per student increase, so that's good. She's also very interested in looking at infrastructure this year," said Spearman.

The governor's plan would allow for $3.7 million to evaluate districts' maintenance and building needs, and design templates for construction.  Many of the school districts are growing and some rural areas don't have the means to expand in their area. Some of those school districts are at the conference. The South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators put on this event to bring everyone together. For over twenty years, the conference is on Martin Luther King weekend to honor him and his mission for children's success.

Marlene Williams, President of the South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators says, "It's not just for black school educators, we're for all educators and we have all educators that are members of our organization. We are interested in providing the best education for all children."

Under Haley's proposal $29 million would be used for technology improvements, $27 million for instructional materials, and 13.5 million for scholarships aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers in poor, rural districts

"No matter where a child lives, no matter the color of their skin, no matter their rich or poor, that they have opportunity so that when they finish high school in South Carolina that they are prepared for success whatever their passion may be, said Spearman.

The governor's proposed budget is a *recommendation* The House's budget-writing committee is working on its plan.

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