South Carolina offers families limited school choice options. The state does not support private school choice. But it does allow for some choice within the public education system.
Public School Choice:
South Carolina has limited public school choice, offering inter-district school transfers.
Private School Choice:
South Carolina passed its first tax credit program in 2013 for children with special needs. The program is limited and only authorized for one year with a $5 million cap.
The Center for Education Reform reports that South Carolina has an average charter school law. Charter schools can be granted blanket waivers, and there is no cap on the maximum number of charter schools that can be opened. The National Association for Public Charter Schools reports that in 2013, nearly 24,000 students attended the state’s 55 public charter schools.
South Carolina offers a state-led online program, full-time online charter schools, and a few supplemental district programs. According to the Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning report, the state-led South Carolina Virtual School had 11,265 course enrollments for the 2010-2011 school year. Although this was a 20 percent decrease from the previous year, the state’s five full-time virtual charter schools enrolled 7,690 students, a nearly 40 percent increase from the previous school year. Additionally, three school districts run online schools.
A bill to phase-in statewide open-enrollment within the public school system was vetoed by Republican Governor Mark Sanford, who claimed the bill's passage "would represent a step backwards in the education reform movement in that it would create the illusion of reform where none would actually exist." According to the South Carolinians for Responsible Government, Governor Sanford advocated for private school choice legislation that would have provided parents with a scholarship or a tax credit to attend the school of their choice. Sanford's proposal failed to pass in either the House or Senate.
Click here for detailed information on South Carolina's public school system and see below for school choice contacts in South Carolina.