Beginning this fall, students would be allowed to attend any public school of their choice anywhere in South Carolina if they have access to classroom space.
On March 29, the House quickly approved legislation allowing so-called “open enrollment” across the state with a vote of 91-25.
The bill, which is a public-school version of school choice, allows students to attend schools outside of their attendance zone whether they are in the same school district or another part of the state anywhere in the state.
Parents would not be charged anything to move within their district. The maximum amount that districts may charge students from outside their borders is the amount they currently spend on each child through local property taxes. The child would be followed by the state and federal spending per student.
House Education Chairwoman Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, stated, “Public schools are available to the public, and deciding where to go based on a ZIP code is not the best option for many children. When we have the ability to make those options available, we should do so for long-term benefit.”
Local school boards would be required to create their open enrollment policies using a state template. These policies would include information about how parents can choose between districts, waiting lists and lottery procedures, and fees for out-of-district transfers. Parents must also be informed by each district whenever space is available.