QUESTION: A recent poll says likely South Carolina voters are evenly divided over whether to give parents who choose home schooling and private schools tax credits or a voucher to offset the cost of those education choices. Public school advocates say such a program would suck $100 million or more out of the state’s education budget. Would you, as governor, sign a tax credit or voucher bill? Why or why not?
|Nikki Haley, of Lexington, the Republican nominee||Morgan Reeves, of Irmo, the Green and United Citizens’ parties nominee||Vincent Sheheen, of Camden, the Democratic nominee|
|ANSWER: I would support school choice and would sign a school choice bill if it comes to my desk. But my focus remains on reforming the funding formula to get more dollars to schools in poor areas, rewarding great teachers for taking on difficult teaching assignments, reorienting resources away from unneeded bureaucracies and into the classrooms, focusing on vocational alternatives for at-risk children and strengthening and expanding public charter schools.||ANSWER: No! I will not stop home schooling but I will not tax other people to pay for private choice. I will make public schools year-round, safer, friendlier and smarter with tech skills, arts, sports, science and literary resources to students and faculty. We will show that our public school system provides a world-class education which is at least comparable to, if not better than, a home or private school education. We will also bring parents back into schools for life-skills and family-building classes, as well as continuing education through increased emphasis on our state technical/trade college system.||ANSWER: I will not support taxpayer subsidies of private schools, which could cost up to $500 million. I am proud to have helped lead the effort to block an out-of-state funded voucher program and will veto any new voucher bill that crosses my desk. Not only are vouchers bad policy, our state cannot afford them taking any more money from public education. Our teachers are being asked to sacrifice too much already and our schoolchildren are paying the price as a result.|