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S.C. Panel To Study Education Agency

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At the request of a Republican state senator, the investigatory unit of the South Carolina legislature will conduct an inquiry into the operation of the South Carolina Department of Education.

State Senator Glenn McConnell this month requested the investigation to determine whether lawmakers will "get our money's worth" if the legislature approves a major education-reform package proposed by Gov. Richard W. Riley, a Democrat. That program would cost $210 million in its first year.

Officials of the education department said they welcomed the audit, which legislative staff members said would take one year to complete.

Mr. Riley's reform package--which would include funds for a new remedial-education program, incentive grants to schools, capital improvements, and teacher-training programs--would cost the state an additional $282 million by its fifth year.

The Governor has proposed an increase in the state sales tax from 4 to 5 percent to help pay for the program.--ce

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