The House Ways and Means Sub Committee for Public Education approved a measure yesterday Jan. 26, 2010, to eliminate 5 paid teacher work days and stipulated that all administrators must take 10 days of furlough. This measure will now go to the full House Ways and Means Committee and if approved there then onto the full House and then to the Senate where it will go through a similar process before becoming a part of the 2010-2011 State Budget and implemented.

A typical teacher in South Carolina with a Masters degree and 10 years of service in the public schools will see their salary cut by approximately $1200 — $1300. The cut to administrator will be much more.

This decision was made by a retired businessman, Representative Lanny Littlejohn, Spartanburg and Cherokee Cos.; an Insurance Agent, Representative Dwight Loftis, District 19, Greenville County; a farmer, Representative Harry Ott, Calhoun, Lexington and Orangeburg Cos.; and a retired rural carrier, minister, businessman, Representative and Sub- Committee Chairperson J Roland Smith, District 84, Aiken County.

What is the message these cuts send to South Carolina’s children? What is the message it sends to companies that might consider locating here? And look for the General Assembly to cut state taxes even further in the coming year in the latest attempt to “reform” our regressive, screwed up state tax structure. This behavior becomes all the more obnoxious in light of the Oregon state referendum last week in which state residents voted to raise their own taxes! That’s right! Acting like responsible adults, they actually dug into their pockets and paid the cost of being a first world society, with modern roads, schools, hospitals, public health services, etc. What an amazing idea! Do you think our General Assembly will ever get the message? Well, you could give it to them. To contact the House Ways and Means Committee members click here: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/html-pages/housecommlst.html#way

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Please call email write etc. and encourage your colleagues, friends and family members to call legislators (your own legislator) and let them know you oppose this proposal. Be prepared to hear there is a $563 million budget deficit and cuts must be made. But let legislators know that public education is what will bring SC from this economic calamity. For too many years we have accepted the status quo and produced an under educated work force and put up with a public education system that is inefficiently funded. We have too long rolled over for special interests and allowed our children’s future and our state’s future to rely heavily on an unpredictable and unstable sales tax. Encourage legislators to support overhauling the tax structure and to use a stable and predictable source of funding for our children and public education.

BECOME INVOLVED TODAY FOR CHILDREN AND PUBLIC EDUCATION IN SC The legislature just recently approved an incentive package for Boeing which some estimate to be at a cost of over $900 million. They approved these incentives as economic development investment. The greatest economic development SC can possibly invest in is our children and providing them a quality public education. Instead of having to give away millions and millions of dollars to lure industry to SC investing in children and our public education system will provide a highly qualified workforce supported by our public education system. This is the true answer to economic development giving a much greater incentives luring more and more industry and economic development