South Carolina Education Budget

The last scheduled day for this year’s legislative session was May 11; however, members of the legislature met into June to resolve conflicts on certain budget items. For bills that did not receive final votes in both the House and Senate, work resumes in 2018 where it left off in 2017 (this year’s legislative session is the first in a two-year cycle). 

Provided below is a recap of the major public education items found in the 2017-18 state budget:
  • The Base Student Cost (BSC) will rise from $2,350 to $2,425 (a $75 increase) for 2017-18. This represents an approximate $60 million influx to the Education Finance Act (EFA). The BSC for 2017-18 represents 81% of the $2,984 required by law under the EFA.
  • The state is using $26 million for the purchase or lease of new school buses in 2017-18. This is a combination of General Funds and state lottery revenue. Approximately $34 million is needed to meet the 15-year bus replacement cycle established by a 2007 law.

*Update – The governor vetoed $20.5 million in the 2017-2018 budget that would have been used to purchase and lease new school buses. According to the governor’s office, the budget item was vetoed because the money comes from projected additional lottery sales. However, those lottery sales should be devoted to scholarships, which is what the money was intended to fund. The legislature has decided to not address the Governor’s vetoes until the start of the 2018 session in January.

  • In the last state budget, $23.8 million was appropriated for new school technology. However, for the upcoming school year, only $12 million has been appropriated.
  • The legislature appropriated $56 million for capital improvements in high-poverty school districts. This includes such districts as those involved in the ongoing Abbeville lawsuit, and those districts with an 80% or higher poverty index.

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