Today the South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously declared that Governor McMaster’s SAFE Grants program is unconstitutional, holding that “the Governor’s allocation of $32 million in GEER funds to support the SAFE Grants Program constitutes 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 Court’s decision which makes it clear that voucher schemes like the Governor’s Safe Grants program violate the South Carolina Constitution; the pandemic doesn’t change that,” said Lindsey Jacobs, Counsel and Policy and Advocacy Director for amici curiae Public Education Partners Greenville County.
“This is a huge victory,” said Robert Lominack, Counsel and Executive Director for amici curiae Richland County Public Education Partners. “Not only does this ruling prevent the misuse of tens of millions of dollars of pandemic relief funding, it sets a precedent that protects public education funding from flowing to private schools in years to come.”
92% of school-aged children in South Carolina rely on public schools – schools that won’t turn a student away based on disability or the cost to educate them, are transparent, and remain accountable to the state’s taxpayers. Never in history have our students and teachers needed our support more than they do now; it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that every available public dollar is spent toward ensuring their safety and success.