News

Entrance to Allendale Elementary School.

NEWS: Supreme Court to hear, review rural school cases

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  State officials will have until July 11 to answer a lawsuit by the Allendale County School Board that seeks to nullify this week’s state takeover of the school district, according to an order filed this morning by the S.C. Supreme Court. 

Today’s order is the latest in a series of developments about rural education splattered in newspapers throughout the week.  Last week, Statehouse Report highlighted a national report that illustrated urgent, critical needs of rural schools in the Palmetto State.

On Monday, S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman declared a state of emergency for Allendale County schools and announced a takeover of the countywide school district. Allendale County is one of the plaintiff districts in a school funding lawsuit filed more than two decades ago by poor districts against the state.  It also was under state control in the early 2000s for performance and other issues.

by · 06/23/2017 · News
NEWS:  S.C.’s rural schools have urgent needs, report says

NEWS:  S.C.’s rural schools have urgent needs, report says

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  South Carolina’s rural schools urgently need more attention from state leaders, according to a new national report. 

The Palmetto State’s rural schools, characterized as some of the a nation’s neediest and lowest achieving, have the fourth-highest “priority rating,” a combined measurement that includes a variety of demographic, achievement and funding factors, according to the report “Why Rural Matters 2015-2016” by the nonprofit Rural School and Community Trust.

by · 06/15/2017 · News
NEWS: House tax review committee receiving little love

NEWS: House tax review committee receiving little love

News analysis by Bill Davis, senior editor | Few realistically expect much of value or use to emerge from the special bipartisan House Tax Policy Review Committee that state Rep. Tommy Pope (R-York) is leading. But then again, unexpected things have happened in recent years at the Statehouse, which now no longer sports the Confederate flag on its dome or grounds.

Last fall, House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) tapped Pope to lead 11 other House members in an expansive review of how the state taxes its citizens.

Five years ago, Pope served on a House Republican Caucus tax review committee that was led by state Rep. Tommy Stringer (R-Greer). Stringer’s Republicans-only committee looked solely into the state’s massive sales tax exemptions, while Pope’s committee includes Democrats and is looking at sales, property and income tax in South Carolina.

by · 06/09/2017 · News
BRIEFS:  S.C. ranks 7th in beer taxes; Whipper to leave House

BRIEFS: S.C. ranks 7th in beer taxes; Whipper to leave House

Staff reports | Here’s some fodder for conversation around the bar: For every gallon beer that South Carolinians drink (that’s about 11 beers – way more than you should have in one sitting in a bar), they’re paying 77 cents in state taxes.

Also: Longtime Charleston state Rep. Seth Whipper, a Democrat, is stepping down from his North Charleston seat to take one on the bench. He’ll become a county magistrate judge, a position he held part-time for eight years before heading to the Statehouse in 1995.

TOP FIVE:   From car insurance costs to abortion politics to Trump’s supporters

TOP FIVE: From car insurance costs to abortion politics to Trump’s supporters

Five stories you might have missed over the last week:

1. Car insurance premiums spike thanks to crashes, repair bills, The Post and Courier, June 6, 2017

2. College tuition high in Palmetto State, Sam Becker in Cheat Sheet, June 7, 2017

3. Planned Parenthood cries foul to gubernatorial attacks, The State, June 6, 2017

4. Oversight by Higher Ed takes a hit, opinion in The Post and Courier, June 8, 2017

5. Why working-class whites keep supporting Trump, Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post, June 6, 2017

by · 06/09/2017 · News, Top Five
NEWS: Federal money “squeeze” would hurt state’s mentally ill, coalition fears

NEWS: Federal money “squeeze” would hurt state’s mentally ill, coalition fears

By Bill Davis, senior editor | A broad-based statewide health care coalition has formed in South Carolina to prepare for what some see as the biggest threat to the mentally ill here since deinstitutionalization ended in the 1970s.

Deinstitutionalization was the process of closing massive public state hospitals for the mentally ill that were funded with help of federal dollars. Hundreds of thousands of newly-released patients were then referred for care to what turned out to be underprepared and underfunded community health care programs. In turn, that caused a host of problems that included, according to some, a spike in this nation’s homeless crisis.

by · 06/02/2017 · News
BRIEFS:   Agreement on budget; Trump’s testy tweet; Pension dodge

BRIEFS: Agreement on budget; Trump’s testy tweet; Pension dodge

Staff reports | House and Senate conferees finished negotiations on a compromise $8 billion budget for state taxes just an hour before June 1 arrived. Highlights are in public education, pension reform and health costs. Also in this brief — a testy presidential tweet on trade with Germany and a pension dodge.

NEWS:  Proposed Medicaid cuts could pit needy South Carolinians against each other

NEWS: Proposed Medicaid cuts could pit needy South Carolinians against each other

By Ashley Heffernan, contributing writer | Goose Creek resident Jerry Marsh retired from the restaurant industry as a general manager about nine years ago as his multiple sclerosis started getting worse. Now in a wheelchair, the 62-year-old works part-time and qualifies for Medicare and Social Security Disability Insurance.

His $36,000-a-year salary also supports his wife, who gets subsidized health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and their 12-year-old grandson, who they adopted three years ago and are raising. The child qualifies for Medicaid, which provides health coverage to more than a million South Carolinians, including about 662,000 children.

by · 05/26/2017 · News