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Schools superintendent: SC can bridge funding gap in phases

Published: Feb. 4, 2015 at 5:34 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2015 at 5:34 PM EST
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By SEANNA ADCOX

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman says the state should bridge the $600 million gap in K-12 education spending within the next five years.

Lawmakers have not fully funded the so-called "base student cost" since 2008. According to state economic advisers, increasing it to the $2,800 per student that state law calls for would cost nearly $600 million.

Spearman's budget request for next year seeks an additional $94 million to distribute through that main funding source for public schools.

The newly elected Republican says it's impractical to try to close that gap in a single year. But she's encouraging a phased-in approach.

Spearman says that would go a long way toward addressing the state Supreme Court's ruling that South Carolina's education funding system denies opportunities to poor, rural students.

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