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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Gov. Sanford Signs Charter Schools Bill
May 3, 2006

Contact: Joel Sawyer
[email protected]

Columbia, S.C. - May 3, 2006 - Gov. Mark Sanford today signed H.3010, a key part of his education agenda aimed at stimulating the establishment of charter schools in South Carolina. The charter schools bill will create a Statewide Public Charter School District to authorize charter schools in order to give prospective operators another option for school approval rather than going through the local school district. The governor said the ultimate goal of the legislation is to give parents and students more educational choices.

"This bill has been a priority for us because creating more charter schools in our state would be a great win for every parent and student in South Carolina," Gov. Sanford said. "God makes every child unique, and we believe it makes sense to have a diversity of choices that fits with that diversity of kids. I'd like to thank leaders in the General Assembly for all of their hard work in getting a bill like this passed that will be an important step toward creating more choices for parents in our state."

Praised by a number of state and national groups as a positive step for the charter school movement in South Carolina, one goal of the legislation is to prevent situations like the one faced by the Melinda Lee Dinkins Higher Learning Academy in Lee County -- a school currently operating under court order after local district officials denied the school permission to open. The new bill still allows charter school operators to seek authorization from local districts, and does not affect the governance or funding of schools currently operating under that arrangement.  During the bill signing, the governor was joined by legislative leaders from the House and Senate who helped push for successful passage of the bill.

"The creation of a statewide charter school district gives our state the tools it needs to improve the educational opportunities for our children.  These important decisions we make today will help our children succeed in, and contribute to, tomorrow's knowledge-based economy."  S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell said. "I am pleased by all the hard work of the General Assembly in getting this bill to the Governor for his signature."

"In recognizing the diversity in children and their individual learning styles, South Carolina takes an incredible step forward in setting up a statewide charter school district giving parents and teachers an expanded avenue to establish charter schools and give all students the opportunity to achieve academic excellence," said Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler.


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