A pro-Gov. Nikki Haley political group will begin Wednesday airing television ads statewide urging state senators to back her education plan.
The House included about $60 million for reading teachers and technology funding that were part of her $160 million proposal introduced before the legislative session. The Senate is weighing the $24 billion budget.
The ad also comes as Haley, a first-term governor from Lexington, prepares for another run against Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen this year. Democrats have said Haley co-opted plans they have recommended for years.
"In too many of our poorer communities education levels aren’t what they should be," the ads from The Movement Fund says. "Nikki Haley has a plan to fix it, more funding for poor districts, improved technology in rural classrooms, intensive reading focus -- so every child can read by the end of third grade."
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The ad includes Windy Cordovano, a third-grade teacher at New Providence Elementary School in Lexington, who says: "Our teachers’ group met with Gov. Haley and she really listened. Her plan will have a huge impact in our classrooms."
Kristin Sosanie, S.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman, called Haley's "so-called education plan...nothing more than a shell game -- moving money around to feign action instead of making real improvements for students and teachers."
Sosanie continued: "This ad is proof that Nikki Haley’s motivations are purely political, as she uses corporate and special interest money to distort her record in hope that the people of South Carolina forget that she vetoed $110 million in education funding, including teacher pay raises. After her three years of failing public schools, Nikki Haley can’t be trusted to stand up for students and teachers.”
Tim Pearson, an adviser to both the political group and Haley’s re-election campaign, declined to put an exact price on the ad run except to say "well into six figures."
The fund spent about $300,000 to air television spots last year questioning Sheheen's support of nationwide health-care reform.
The group had about $173,000 on hand at the end of 2013. That goes along with $3.7 million that Haley had on hand in her 2014 re-election coffers.
The Movement Fund's ads are just the latest signal of the governor's race heating up in the spring.
The Republican Governors Association aired two television ads this month aiming at Sheheen's support for the Affordable Care Act. Sheheen has said he supports South Carolina taking the first three years of the Medicaid expansion paid fully by the federal government.
The Movement Fund TV ad touting Gov. Nikki Haley's education plan