Local GOP forum focuses on school choice benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2009
Contact: Tom Swatzel (843) 222-7456

PAWLEYS ISLAND- - Three dozen local activists and interested parents met at the Pawleys Island Library Monday night to discuss the state of education in South Carolina, the need for education options, the impact of school budget cuts, and a plan for encouraging parents to become more engaged in their children's education.

At the Waccamaw Neck Republican Club sponsored forum attendees heard from speakers about the growing race and income gaps in public school performance and learned how even South Carolina's most distinguished public schools remain far behind their regional and national peers.

Neil Mellen, communications director with South Carolinians for Responsible Government, provided a presentation about the benefits of school choice and debunked the myths surrounding it.

"School choice is a win-win for everyone, as is already being proven in fifteen other states. With family and government budgets tightening, the cost-savings offers a way to increase spending in public schools while providing parents with more options for their children," Mellen said.

The presentation highlighted the current $11,480 per public school student spending in the state and the fact that less than half of the funding actually gets spent on classroom instruction.

The national, state, and Georgetown County Republican Party platforms all express support for school choice.

"The GOP believes, and studies have proven, that empowering parents through school choice programs helps improve the academic performance of all students. And from a taxpayer point of view, school choice has the added benefit of actually saving the state money," Georgetown County Republican Party chairman Tom Swatzel said.