Published Online: January 23, 2007
Published in Print: January 24, 2007, as Consolidate Districts, S.C. Executive Suggests

State of the States

Consolidate Districts, S.C. Executive Suggests

South Carolina

The state should move toward a K-12 system that features one school district per county, rather than the current 85 districts stretched across 46 counties, Gov. Mark Sanford said in his Jan. 17 State of the State address, which focused on restructuring state government.

But the governor, a Republican re-elected to a second term in November, did not elaborate on the district-consolidation idea and in general gave few details about his education agenda for this term.

Gov. Mark Sanford

In his first term, Gov. Sanford aggressively pushed the idea of tax credits and vouchers to help parents send their children to private school, only to see his GOP colleagues in the Republican-dominated legislature reject his ideas.

His speech to the legislature this year included a call for school choice and “market-based solutions to education,” but he didn’t endorse a specific program. He also called for a “single weighted funding formula” for schools, although he did not elaborate.

In urging consolidation of the state’s many school districts, Gov. Sanford said: “Let’s recognize our wide-ranging school district sizes and structures for what they are—in some cases a throwback to the era of segregation.”

The governor said his top agenda item for 2007 is making the department of transportation a Cabinet-level agency as part of a larger effort to reorganize state government.

Vol. 26, Issue 20, Page 29

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