Gov. Nikki Haley and four legislators met with nearly 40 teachers Thursday in a closed-door meeting in Columbia, Haley’s office said.
The meeting was an effort to have a frank discussion with public school teachers from rural and urban communities, Haley told news media after the meeting. Haley has a series of meetings planned this summer with education groups to discuss ways to improve public education.
The meetings are part of Haley’s ongoing education conversation, a priority she announced in her 2013 State of the State address. Earlier this spring, Haley said she was eager to introduce education-reform proposals as soon as possible but said they would take time to develop.
Asked Thursday if a reform bill would be ready before next year’s legislative session, she said, “I don’t want to say yes, but that is my goal.”
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Reading, technology and training were “highlights” of Thursday’s meeting with teachers, Haley said.
Asked whether the group discussed public school funding, Haley said the teachers said: “They don’t think it (money) is coming to the classroom.”
“There’s not a legislator that doesn’t want to have good education in South Carolina, that doesn’t fight for it,” the Lexington Republican said. “The problem is everyone worries about where does the money go when you send it to education, and how do we get it to (teachers).”
Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson, R-Richland, said, in his nine years as chairman of the Senate Education Committee, “This is the first time I’ve seen a governor make an outreach to the legislative leadership and to the education community to the extent Gov. Haley has, and I commend her for that.”