(Columbia, SC) – The South Carolina Supreme Court issued a historic opinion late Wednesday, siding with The South Carolina Education Association and affirming that the use of public funds for private schools is unconstitutional in South Carolina. The unanimous 5-0 decision by the court blocked a plan to designate $32 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for private school tuition.
SC Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beaty maintained that the state Constitution was quite clear on the matter of public funding for private schools: “the use of public funds for the direct benefit of private educational institutions within the meaning of, and prohibited by, Article XI, Section 4 of the South Carolina Constitution.”
“We applaud the Supreme Court for upholding the state Constitution” said Sherry East, President of The SCEA. “While South Carolina has many important issues that must be addressed, from the Corridor of Shame to the Abbeville court case, now we must turn our attention to how this $32 million in federal CARES Act funds can best serve the students of South Carolina. Whether it be used for broadband expansion in underserved areas, making schools safer for students and teachers or providing for the overall social and economic support of students, there are many ways that our state can use these critically-needed funds.”