Legislative Update – January 30, 2015

 This week Joe Wilson (R-SC2) held a press conference at the SC Statehouse.  At his press conference Representative Wilson introduced legislation to direct greater state and local control of our public education system.  Superintendent Spearman appeared with Representative Wilson and spoke in support of this legislation.  She also touted South Carolina’s new College and Career Readiness standards.  She reiterated that these standards were designed by South Carolina educators and vetted by university faculty as well as the business community.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

On Tuesday, January 27th, the K12 Education Subcommittee met and discussed four pieces of legislation:

H.3328 (Read to Succeed) extends the deadline for approving the state’s reading readiness standards from February 1, 2015 to January 15, 2015.  SCASA spoke in support of this bill.  This bill was passed out of the subcommittee with a favorable report.

H.3265 (CPR Training) requires that each student receive instruction in CPR at least once between grades 9 and 12.  Exceptions are granted for students who have an IEP or whose parents sign an opt-out form as approved by the student’s district.  Rep. Weller agreed that if the bill was given a favorable report, then he would add an amendment stating that this requirement will go into effect beginning with students whose freshman year is 2016-2017.  In this way there is no requirement that current students go back and receive this training.  This bill was passed out of the subcommittee with a favorable report.

H.3044 (Instruction days to hours) revises the requirement for 180 instructional days requirement and allows the same time period to be allotted in terms of minutes, and gives school districts flexibility in determining how to meet those time requirements as well as flexibility in determining how to make up snow days using additional minutes.  The committee adjourned debate on this bill in order to examine the possibility of including language which would move up the school start date.  SCASA is continuing to follow developments on this bill.

H.3030 (Student Athlete EKG) requires that every student athlete receive an electrocardiogram (EKG) along with their sports physical.  The committee adjourned debate on this bill at the request of the bill’s author in order to gain additional information on the efficacy of the EKG for detecting potentially dangerous heart conditions, and to examine the financial impact of the procedure on school districts and parents.

H.3041 (Superintendent Election), which removes the Superintendent of Education from the list of elected state offices and places the position within the Governor’s cabinet, received a favorable report from the Judiciary Committee.

SENATE

On Tuesday, January 27th, the Senate Finance Committee heard a presentation from Frank Rainwater, Executive Director of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office in the Department of Revenue. In this presentation Mr. Rainwater discussed the ongoing impacts of the property tax swap in Act 388 (2006).

On Wednesday, January 28th, Superintendent Spearman met before the Senate Education Committee to lay out her vision Education in South Carolina.  She detailed her 2015-2016 priorities of increasing the base student cost, approval of new Math and ELA standards, reducing the number of requirements placed on teachers and administrators by the General Assembly, and collaboration with universities and the business community to identify and develop the skills necessary for success in both the post-secondary environment and in the workplace.

Also on January 28th, the Full Senate, by a vote of 38-1, gave second reading to the S.349 (Read to Succeed) which extends the deadline for the new ELA standards from February 1, 2015 to January 15, 2015.  As mentioned above, the companion bill in the House (H.3328) also received a favorable report from the House K12 Subcommittee.

Sports Tourism

Tomorrow (Saturday), there will be a large wrestling tournament at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School and a large archery tournament at Lugoff-Elgin High School.  Next weekend, the 2A Upper State Wrestling Tournament will be held at North Central High School and in early March, Camden High School will be hosting a large invitational track meet.  All of  these events will draw hundreds of participants and spectators to our community who will patronize our local businesses, especially in the hospitality area.  Sports tourism through the school district is a tremendous asset to our community.

Conversations With Students…

Had some really enjoyable conversations this morning, though very different ones, with students over at ATEC.  I stopped by the morning GED class and had a great discussion about the role of government.  Some very perceptive young people in that class.  Then I walked down the hall to the Child Development class where the preschoolers were eating lunch.  They had a lot to tell me about a magic show they had just seen at the Fine Arts Center and were very excited about a trip they were going to be taking to visit a firehouse.  Great fun!!

New LE Football Coach ….

Story on WLTX last night…..

http://www.wltx.com/story/sports/high-school/2015/01/29/lugoff-elgin-high-school-matthew-campbell/22509615/

Historical Society Reaches Out

I’m extremely excited that the Kershaw County Historical Society is exploring ways to help our teachers teach Kershaw County History.  This is going to be a great asset!  We’re indebted to the folks from the Historical Society for reaching out in this way.

Walking Around On The Hundredth Day

Enjoyed spending some time in schools this morning…the Hundredth Day! Had fun with Ms. Melissa Tomascik’s third graders at Blaney Elementary, who were working on their Superintendent’s Writing Competition essays.  There are some fine writers in that class! Was very impressed with Mr. Charles Ashmore’s Band class at Stover Middle.  A fairly small class put out a great sound! Also talked to a very excited group of students in Ms. Rhonda Horton’s class at Lugoff-Elgin Middle.  They were excited because they had all reached their reading goal and as a reward, going to attend the USC Women’s basketball game tomorrow night.  Hope to see them on television!

Support For Central Carolina Campus Expansion

I was excited to be able to attend a ceremony over at the Kershaw County campus of Central Carolina Technical College yesterday.  Senator Vincent Sheheen, Representative Laurie Funderburk, and Senator Thomas McElveen presented a $1.5 million check from the state to begin the expansion of the campus.  An expanded CCTC campus will be an important part of economic development and increased educational opportunities in our community.  Great news!