Teachers miss out on $144 million in federal funds

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Some teachers are saying the state really needs this money.

Many teachers across the state are having a hard time understanding why superintendent Mick Zais did not go after the $144 million in federal funds to be used for teaching jobs.

Money that Zais says South Carolina didn't even qualify for.

Teachers that were protesting Monday morning say that's not good enough.

"When I see a child that wants to learn, I do whatever I can to help them get there," said Richland One's Evening High School teacher, Cathy Page.

After more than 30 years of teaching in South Carolina, Page, a teacher raised by teachers has a hard time dealing with the fact South Carolina will miss out on $144 million from the federal government.

"It makes me full," said Page. "I feel like crying. I'm frustrated to that point."

Monday morning dozens of protestors shared Page's frustrations on the steps of the Department of Education.

The Richland County Education Association says the money could've created or saved around three thousand jobs.

"It's going to be spent it's our tax dollars, we put into the system," said Page. "Why not benefit S.C.?"

Education Superintendent Mick Zais says cuts in higher education funding made South Carolina ineligible for the money.

The Association of School Administrators says Texas wasn't eligible either, but that state managed a workaround.

"Even if we were eligible for this money and we're not," said Zais. "I would also make the point that one time funding for recurring expenses, that is teacher's salaries, is bad financial policy, because the money runs out and you've still have the obligation to pay the teachers."

Page would've liked Zais and other state leaders to at least ask for the money to see if something could've been done.

The window to apply for the $144 million closed at midnight on Monday.

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