A roundup of reaction from around South Carolina ...
From S.C. Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington:
“Today was indeed a great day in South Carolina, especially for our children. For over a decade the citizens of this state have waited for a decision to be made on this issue because the implications of this decision would have tremendous impact on the children of South Carolina. A child's educational opportunities should not be limited to where a child is born or the social economic status of the family the child is born to. As a state we have an obligation to provide the best quality education for our children. This is a huge win for the Palmetto State. I look forward to working in a bi-partisan manner with my colleagues in the House, Senate and at the local level to ensure we take the necessary steps to provide a first class public education system for our children in South Carolina.”
From S.C. Senate Assistant Minority Leader John Matthews, D-Orangeburg:
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“Today’s Supreme Court ruling was very special for me personally. As someone who represents school districts within the Corridor of Shame (along Interstate 95), I can tell you first hand this will have a significant impact on the future of those school districts. I was called in as an expert witness in the lawsuit, and what I made clear to the court was simply this, if we (in South Carolina) want our children to effectively compete in an ever-changing global society, we must do whatever it takes to make sure our children’s opportunities are not defined by where they live.”
From Doug Mayer, spokesman for Gov. Nikki Haley:
“Governor Haley was born, raised, and educated in rural South Carolina and knows first-hand the challenges they are facing. That is exactly why she spent two years developing and implementing groundbreaking education reform that brings significantly more resources to our impoverished districts, increases access to technology, and strengthens early childhood programs for our state’s most vulnerable children. Improving our public education system isn’t something that is done overnight, but an effort that must be addressed year after and year and the governor is committed to doing so until her last day in office.”
Carl Epps, who filed the lawsuit for the school districts in 1993:
“This is an historical moment for the state of South Carolina, it truly is.”
From Bud Ferillo, producer and director of “Corridor of Shame: The Neglect of South Carolina's Rural Schools”:
“If you live long enough and are on the side of history, you can win. This is an unambiguous victory for all school children in South Carolina, 52 percent of whom live in poverty, far more than those when the suit was filed in 1993. Now the struggle for compliance goes to the legislature for remedies. We must hope they will begin a multi-year effort to bring high quality education, not a minimally adequate one, to all our school districts. I am thrilled to have this decision.”
From Sen. John Courson, chairman of Senate Education Committee:
“Two issues have manifested themselves: One is, we’ve got a teacher shortage and we need to address the pay equity issue compared with other states; and the other is a process of terminating an ineffective teacher. That gets to be laborious but we’re looking at that now.” Noting that the legislature goes back in session Jan. 13, he added, “We just need to look at all this and put it all together.”
From Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw:
“As someone who represents rural South Carolina, I am thrilled with the court’s finding. However I do think it is sad when the S.C. Supreme Court has to do what elected leaders should do.”
From Tommy Stringer, R-Greenville, a member of the House Education and Public Works Committee:
"South Carolina parents should never have been forced to settle for a minimally adequate education for their child. The Legislature should now recognize that parents have the right to choose the best education option for their child and should explore methods to have state funding follow the child so that parents can exercise that right."
From Jaime Harrison, SC Democratic Party chairman:
"This has been twenty-one long years in the making. Today's decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court is an historic victory for the underserved children in poor and rural communities across our state," said Harrison. "The opportunity to receive a high-quality education should never be limited to geography or economic condition. I'm proud that students from urban centers like Greenville to the rural parts of Orangeburg will now receive the education they deserve. It's time for the Legislature to stand up and make sure we provide every child the education they need to succeed."
From Molly Spearman, Republican, State Superintendent of Education-Elect:
“Over the past several months I traveled to schools throughout South Carolina to listen to the concerns of parents, teachers, and school leaders and share a vision of a world class education for every South Carolina student. A cornerstone of that vision is that we must fix our broken funding formula. Today’s Supreme Court ruling should be seen a mandate that gives us the unique opportunity to resolve problems that will impact the future of our children and grandchildren for years to come and act to ensure every student has every opportunity everyday regardless of where they happen to reside or the their socio-economic background. As the next State Superintendent of Education, I am excited to bring the best minds together to craft the right solutions for all children in South Carolina.”
From Mick Zais, SC Superintendent of Education:
“The time is now ripe for the General Assembly to create a Transformation School District, which will address the issues raised in the majority opinion. In Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee, transformation districts have successfully taken over failing schools and turned them around. It is now time for us to do the same in South
From State Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington:
“I am pleased that Chief Justice Toal has written ... a legacy piece after 26 years on the court and with her departure imminent.”
From Scott Price, executive director-elect, SC School Boards Association:
"The court in its ruling clearly states that the mechanism for funding our schools is broken and more significantly, cited the State's failure to meet its constitutional duty. It sends a directive to our state leaders to work with local districts and fix it. We are finalizing a funding plan that addresses the issues raised by the court, especially the need to place students at the forefront of decision making and policy. Our plan allocates funding for students based on their needs and not where they live. We will be raising awareness and advocate for this plan in the coming months."
From State Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, president pro tem:
From State Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield:
From Regina Hitchcock, state director, StudentsFirst South Carolina:
“Justice has been done in the Supreme Court, now it needs to be carried through by our state Legislature. Today’s long-awaited ruling is a resounding response to the pleading voices of rural and low-income districts struggling to educate our children. It underscores the critical importance of turning around our lowest performing schools and getting a great teacher in every classroom, regardless of the race, income-class, or ZIP code of those students. As a leading partner in improving our state’s education system, StudentsFirst South Carolina looks forward to working with the Legislature, and other partners to help put today’s ruling into action.”