A coalition of thirteen organizations held a press conference on May19 at the State House in Columbia to lobby for increased salaries for teachers and state workers. SCORS was part of the original thirteen. This press conference attracted 600 members of the extant organizations as well as other educational and social progress groups, who later joined the coalition.
A letter (found on our website) was delivered to the Governor to request that there be a “public commitment to public services… equitable school funding of education and state services.” These were all agreed upon by all of the organizations and the many more who joined after May 19th.
A follow-up planning meeting was held in Columbia on June 7th. The discussions centered on a Lobby Day that will be held on June 27th in Columbia. At that time, the Coalition will present the legislators with its requests.
The major accomplishment so far, and this is only one month, is to galvanize public opinion through these organizations and their members that we need to lift South Carolina both economically, educationally and state services. If you travel around South Carolina as members of SCORS do, you will see a lack of state activity in the area of roads.
In education, teacher salaries are lower than most states in the Southeast. That problem leads to problems in teacher recruitment and retention. There are many school districts that have to rely on foreign teachers to fill their empty slots.
Our economic situation is based on attracting very large companies here with sweeteners like reduced or eliminated taxation, low wages, and other perks that smaller and home grown businesses don’t get. That scheme has been tried in many other states and in most cases failed to last.
With the gubernatorial race heating up, SCORS has some ideas that it has that might start a new governor’s term just right. As legislators battle with budget problems and negotiate with each other for their projects that may help their own communities, statewide problems remain untouched.
The Coalition has the capacity to present some ideas about how to deal with these problems and is interested in working to achieve them in a non-partisan manner.