More than 800 parents, students and teachers rallied at the State House in Columbia in support of access to public school options – including brick-and-mortar charter schools, magnet schools and virtual charter schools. Participants joined South Carolina’s PublicSchoolOptions.org for their Fifth Annual “Day at the State House.”
Many of the rally participants are currently enrolled in the state’s public brick-and-mortar and virtual charter schools.
Attendees thanked legislators for supporting access to public school options, while at the same time continued their call for fair, permanent and full funding of public charter schools.
“The enrollment numbers speak to the growing demand for access to public school options in South Carolina and the numbers are only expected to grow. Many families are facing ongoing uncertainty about their children’s school with the current funding process,” said PubicSchoolOptions.org National Broad President and South Carolina Chapter Chair Beth Purcell. “My kids have thrived in our state’s charter schools – both brick-and-mortar and virtual – and it’s important that my children receive the same funding for their charter schools as our next door neighbor whose child attends the traditional neighborhood school.”
The coalition presented the “Future of Educations’ Golden Apple Award” to elected officials who are leaders in supporting public charter schools in the state, including Rep. Bill Sandifer. Also receiving the award were Governor Nikki Haley; Superintendent Mick Zais; Senators Wes Hayes, Nikki Setzler and Tom Alexander; and Representatives Phil Owens, Jim Merrill and Kenny Bingham.
Superintendent of Education, Dr. Mick Zais said, “While every child is special, every child is different. One size does not fit all in education.” Zais continued, “The money should follow the student to the school of his or her choice.”
The largest disparity is a lack of equitable funding for schools of choice. The average traditional public school in South Carolina receives approximately $11,000 per pupil, while the 15,000 students in the South Carolina Public Charter School District receive approximately $6,000 per pupil.
PublicSchoolOptions.org is an alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children, including charter schools, virtual schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. We advocate for free and equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children.