2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 62%
Individual Tax Credit/Deduction
The South Carolina Refundable Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children is a refundable tax credit program passed and launched in 2015. Different from traditional tax credit programs, refundable tax credits have greater utility for parents of more modest incomes.
The South Carolina Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children is a tax-credit scholarship program enacted in 2013 and launched in 2014. The program provides tax credits of up to 100 percent of donations made to Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFOs). SFOs give private school scholarships to students with special needs.
Charter Schools Score: 82%
South Carolina ranks 11 and receives a low “B” grade. It moves up in this year’s rankings as
a result of recent changes to the law, including a change that allows universities to authorize charter schools. South Carolina now permits three types of authorizers: universities, local school districts, and the South Carolina Public Charter School District (PCSD).
In late 2017, PCSD began to challenge the authority of universities to approve schools that it had not. Charter operators also allege that PCSD has become increasingly bureaucratic and focused on process and narrow measures of success. Many operators are seeking new authorizers as a result. Should these trends continue, South Carolina is likely to drop, once again, in future CER rankings.
- Law passed in 1996
- Number of charters: 72
- Estimated charter school enrollment 31,700 (up 1 percent from 2015-16)
- South Carolina does not cap the number of charter schools
- Virtual charter schools are allowed, provided that 25 percent of instruction involves a “real time” teacher
- There is wide flexibility for charters wishing to contract with EMOs/CMOs for management services
- South Carolina scores 9 out of 15 for “authorizing” because the law allows universities, school districts, and the South Carolina Public Charter School District to authorize charter schools. Currently no universities are authorizing schools. The South Carolina Charter School District is a government entity, which means it is vulnerable to politics.
- South Carolina earns a 12 out of 15 for “growth.” While the law does not cap the number of charter schools available, it requires operators to apply for a new charter each time they would like to expand. This makes it difficult for the charter sector to grow. Long and burdensome application and reapplication processes do not entice operators to replicate.
- South Carolina receive 13 of 20 points for “operations.” The law provides charter schools
a blanket waiver from most state and local regulations. However, charter school funding flows from the authorizer, instead of the state. This makes schools vulnerable to the whims of authorizers (many of which are local school districts, who sometimes see charters as competitors).
- South Carolina scores 6 out 15 for “funding equity.” Charter schools authorized by the Public Charter School District cannot draw funding from a local tax base (as district schools do), but they do receive state funding in addition to the pre-determined per-pupil amount students would otherwise receive. State funding is helpful, but it is also subject to budget cuts. Charter Schools in South Carolina do not have access to any per-pupil facilities funding.
Teacher Quality Score: 78%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B
Identifying Effective Teachers B
Retaining Effective Teachers D-
Exiting Ineffective Teachers D-
Overall State Grade C+