Red State Gov Signs School Choice Program into Law, Gives Private School Students Taxpayer Funds

by Reagan Reese


Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed school choice legislation into law Thursday that provides private and religious school students with taxpayer funds.

Under S 39, every student enrolled in a private or religious school will be eligible to receive $6,000 to spend on education related costs. The bill, signed into law by McMasters on Thursday, passed the state Senate in February and the state House approved the bill in April, 79-35.

Through the law, by 2026, 15,000 students are expected to be utilizing the education vouchers, costing the state about $90 million. In the 2026-2027 school year, the program would expand beyond students outside of the public school system making any family with an annual income over $100,000 eligible for the vouchers.

“For nearly a decade, grassroots South Carolinians have led the effort to give families access to the alternative academic resources that best fit students’ needs,” Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, an organization focused on education grassroots efforts, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Governor McMaster’s signing of S. 39 into law scored a historic victory for thousands of students and families across the Palmetto State who now have access to education savings accounts that give them the ability to select from a variety of education options. South Carolina has bolstered the nationwide momentum to expand education freedom for all.”

“I’m not against any South Carolinian that’s trying to better themselves and trying to make a provision for their family,” Democratic state Sen. Ronnie Sabb told WISTV. “I think the fundamental question is not that. I would submit that the fundamental question is whether or not we use public funds to support private schools.”

Throughout the country, lawmakers are moving to enact school choice legislation; in March, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a piece of legislation into law, giving the state a universal school choice program. Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed school choice legislation into law in January, providing private school students with taxpayer funds.

“We got these ideas from other states that tried things, some worked, some didn’t,” McMaster said ahead of signing the bill. “But this bill, this new law, works. It works extremely well for the people of South Carolina. Among the many benefits are not just preparing our people to live happy, strong, healthy, meaningful lives. The impact on our economic growth will be enormous because we must have economic growth, educational strength and a strong environment in order to prosper. This goes right to the heart of that educational strength.”

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Reagan Reese is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Henry McMaster” by Henry McMaster.





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