Pushing for more dollars for schools

Image by GoodbyeMinimallyAdequate.comImage by 20080714education.jpg The Web site seeks to gather signatures encouraging lawmakers to push a constitutional amendment for more school resources.

After trying a 15-year, $6 million lawsuit, and the “Corridor of Shame” video (trailer), a group is now pushing for a constitutional amendment to ensure that all S.C. schools have enough funding to provide a "high quality" education.

The Web site GoodbyeMinimallyAdequate.com seeks to gather 1 million signatures in spporting that are state constitituion be ammended to read:
Article XI, Section 3. “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the State and shall establish, organize, and support such other public institutions of learning, as may be desirable that will provide a high quality education, allowing each student to reach his highest potential.”

It's a long shot for sure, as two-thirds of the state Senate and House would have to support the change to get the change on the ballot. And, don't forget, this is the same group of legislators that have been hesitant to give more funding to schools in the first place. Also, the group only has 10,200 signatures at this point.

The next chance to get the act on the ballot is November 2010, so they do have time.

A 1999 S.C. Supreme Court verdict interpreted the existing constitution to mean “minimally adequate.” But, last month, the court seemed very wary of determining a minimally adequate education actually meant.

The Post and Courier discusses how the change could indirectly put the judicial branch in charge of spending:
Someone could sue the state and say it's not providing a high quality education, [Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston] said. If the courts agreed with the plaintiff, judges could order the Legislature to provide more money to schools, he said.

Judges don't have information about competing interests facing the state, such as health care, law enforcement and higher education, and theirs would be a tunnel-vision decision on one issue, he said. Lawmakers are accountable to the public every election, and this is an attempt to get through the courts what's not gotten through the Legislature, he said.

But, The Palmetto Scoop says it's not all as it seems and the site is actually a thinly veiled pre-amp for State Schools Superintendent Jim Rex's 2010 bid to be governor.

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