FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Majority Leader Davey Hiott
APRIL 26, 2023 803-734-3139
HOUSE REPUBLICANS PASS SCHOOL CHOICE BILL
EMPOWERING PARENTS TO MAKE BEST EDUCATIONAL CHOICES
(Columbia, S.C.) - Today, the SC House of Representatives passed S.039, the Educational Scholarship Trust Fund, which will provide eligible elementary and secondary students with scholarships to cover their education expenses at the school of their choice. The ESTF is a critical step towards creating a more equitable education system in South Carolina as it recognizes the importance of educational options for families and gives every student an opportunity to succeed.
“Education is not one-size-fits-all,” said House Majority Leader Davey Hiott (R-Pickens). “Many parents feel trapped in their current schools, or that their children's needs aren't being met, and so it is imperative that we empower them with choices that are conducive to their childrens’ success”
With the ESTF, eligible students can receive scholarships of up to $6,000 to cover expenses such as tuition and fees, instructional materials, tutoring, computer hardware, assessments, and transportation. ESAs will be funded directly from the state budget, meaning no money is being directly taken from the current K-12 education budget or from existing public schools.
“By allowing scholarship funds to be used for both public and private schools the ESTF ensures that every child has access to quality education, regardless of their family's income or location,” said Shannon Erickson, Chairman, House Education and Public Works Committee (R-Beaufort). “Parents can select a school that aligns with their child's unique needs and interests without being restricted by financial barriers”.
While this bill is limited in scope and by eligibility requirements, it lays the groundwork for broader legislation that will fully empower South Carolina parents in making educational choices for their children. “We will continue to work and make progress on this issue until parents alone are in control of their children’s education,” said Erickson.