Education Oversight Committee Budget Recommendations

SC Education oversight Committee logo

By B. Jamison

On December 12, 2016, the Education Oversight Committee (EOC) adopted budget recommendations for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The programmatic and funding recommendations made are designed to continue last year’s support of educators and students while accelerating innovation in education. Based on statutory authority, the committee members annually make recommendations for the spending of Education Improvement Act (EIA) funds, which are generated by the penny sales tax. In November, the Board of Economic Advisors projected that the EIA will generate $791 million in total revenues in fiscal year 2017-18, an increase of $39 million over the current year’s EIA appropriation base.

Highlights of the recommendations, which now head to the General Assembly and the Governor for consideration during next year’s legislative session, include:

  • Supporting Educators: Computer Science Task Force and STEM Education

A joint effort with the SC Department of Education, Computer Science Task Force members represented educators, government, parents and industry.  The Committee recommended allocating $500 thousand to appoint a Computer Science coordinator to develop a comprehensive plan in collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders.  Funds would provide educators professional learning opportunities in computer science.  Districts would receive support to provide additional learning opportunities for students.  The committee also recommended allocating $1.25 million to support STEM education for teachers, schools and communities to implement additional STEM labs in underserved schools. 

  • Supporting Educators: Teacher Recruitment and Retention

The Committee recommends allocating $1.2 million to increase the annual Teaching Fellows award from $6,000 to $7,500 since there has been no increase since the inception of the Teaching Fellow program in 2000.  The Committee also supports the development, administration and analysis of an anonymous Teacher Working Conditions Survey to understand the main causes of teacher attrition.

  • Improve Students College and Career Readiness: Industry Credentials

EOC support $4 million in recurring funds to districts for national industry exams and certifications.  One million of the recurring funds would be used to reward schools for student passage rates on exams.

  • Accelerating Education Innovation: SC Education Innovation Fund

The EOC also recommended the State consider the establishment of a statewide education innovation fund that would develop and implement a competitive grants process for reviewing, awarding and monitoring innovative education strategies.  In the past two years, the EOC has administered $3 million in innovation funding for four-year-old kindergarten.  With seed funding of $6 million, the Education Innovation fund would build upon current innovation funding and establish additional priorities such as innovative practices in teacher recruitment and retention; applied learning with a focus on K-12 STEM education; and implementing measurable strategies that develop students’ soft skills as noted in the SC Profile of the High School Graduate.

For the full recommendations, visit the EOC website

For more information, contact Dana Yow at 803-734-6148 or danay@eoc.sc.gov.