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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Update on School Choice: Ways & Means & The BEA
April 15, 2005

Your telephone calls and emails are needed first thing Monday morning (or before) to maintain momentum on Putting Parents in Charge (H3652).

 1. Watering Down PPIC?

After clearing the subcommittee hurdle this week, the school choice proposal "Put Parents in Charge (PPIC)" [H 3652] will be taken up on Monday afternoon by the House  Ways and Means Committee. (For an explanation of the benefits of PPIC please see the attached paper "The Hottest in the Hopper.")

This is crunch time. The fate of the ability of parents to choose their children's schools without financial penalty may well be decided on April 18 in Room 521 of the Blatt Building.  

Will you make a telephone call or send an email right now?

Here is the situation: those who are less than enthusiastic about school choice are set to attach what appears to be a friendly amendment, the effect of which will be to turn a tax credit bill into a voucher bill. Opponents know that the "v-word" provides the necessary weight to sink the legislation. With vouchers, government is unnecessarily entangled with parental choice.

Other opposition strategies include turning statewide school choice that benefits every child into a Lilliputian pilot project. We encourage you to express your opposition to these schemes when calling.

While you are contacting the crucial members of the Ways & Means Committee, please reserve some time later for Thank You calls to W&M sponsors of the bill. They are: Liston Barfield, Ralph Davenport, Tracy Edge, Shirley Hinson, Chip Limehouse, Jim McGee, Rex Rice, Roland Smith, Lewis Vaughn and Annette Young.

To contact your specific state representative, visit the Legacy Alliance Legislative Action Network through to find your House member use the telephone and email addresses below to contact Ways & Means Committee Members:

Bobby Harrell, Chairman

Danny Cooper, 1st V.C.

Rex Rice, 2nd V.C.  [Thank You]

Annette Young, 3rd V.C.  [Thank You] 

Herb Kirsh, Secy./Treas.
No email.

Liston Barfield [Thank You] 

Bill Cotty

Ralph Davenport [Thank You] 

Tracy Edge [Thank You] 

Shirley Hinson [Thank You] 

Chip Limehouse [Thank You] 

Lanny Littlejohn

Jay Lucas

DeWitt McCraw

Jim McGee [Thank You] 

Gary Simrill

Roland Smith [Thank You] 

Adam Taylor

Lewis Vaughn [Thank You]

2. Going Deeper into PPIC: Answering the BEA

If you want to go deeper in your understanding of PPIC, please keep reading....

The other PPIC news this week was the release of the State Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) fiscal analysis of H.3652. The usual suspects are attempting to sell a very politicized report from BEA as independent analysis. Here are some problems with the BEA's research design:

  • BEA minimizes the number of home schoolers and students leaving the public system to unrealistic levels;
  • BEA maximizes associated costs for existing independent school students;
  • BEA refuses to acknowledge that local districts will be able to reduce expenditures as a result of lower enrollments;
  • BEA assumes, without ever justifying how they arrive at the number, that only 10,071 students currently in public schools would migrate to independent schools in five years. This number has no basis in fact. Migration is projected to be a low of 80,000 to a high of 120,000 students in the five year period. Why is the migration number important? Even BEA admits that when students leave public schools the State saves money. How much? In the first year the state would save $2,040 per student who migrates. As this savings increases so to does overall state spending per pupil;
  • BEA assumes that only families making more than $35,000 take advantage of the tax credit and SGO grants. This is political bias. In fact, the SGOs are primarily designed for lower income families. By reducing the number of these families to near zero, the BEA has dramatically cut savings;
  • BEA inexplicably looks only at classroom expenditures to cut even though only 50% of all public education spending ending up in the classroom . There is no acceptance of any reduction in central administrations or non-teaching functions. This is why they only calculate a 5% reduction in spending. By eliminating these potential savings, the BEA has inflated the costs of the program.
  • BEA estimates that SGOs will take in more than they distribute during the 5 year phase-in, but does not include the balance of money that reverts to the state in their calculation, thus inflating the cost to the state.

To go even deeper, please visit

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