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South Carolina school districts

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K-12 Education in South Carolina
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Mick Zais
Number of students: 727,186[1]
Number of teachers: 46,782
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:15.5
Number of school districts: 105
Number of schools: 1,223
Graduation rate: 75%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $8,986[3]
See also
South Carolina Department of EducationList of school districts in South CarolinaSouth CarolinaSchool boards portal
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in South Carolina
Glossary of education terms

South Carolina is home to 105 school districts, 1,213 schools and 727,186 K-12 students.[4]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education[5]
    • Barry Bolen, Chair, Circuit District 11
    • Dr. Traci Young Cooper, Chair-Elect, Circuit District 5
    • Dr. Samuel Alston, Circuit District 1
    • Jim Griffith, Circuit District 2
    • Lonzena Harry, Circuit District 3
    • Dr. David Blackmon, Circuit District 4
    • James E. Stroman, Circuit District 6
    • Neil Willis, Circuit District 7
    • Ivan Randolph, Circuit District 8
    • Larry Kobrovsky, Circuit District 9
    • Jeff Kubu, Circuit District 10
    • Tom Ewart, Circuit District 12
    • Dr. Danny Varat, Circuit District 13
    • Dr. Rhonda Edwards, Circuit District 14
    • Dr. Thomas L. Shortt, Circuit District 15
    • John Rampey, Circuit District 16
    • Michael Brenan, At-Large Member


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment.[6]

Enrollment, 2011-2012
1.) Greenville County School District
2.) Charleston County School District
3.) Horry County Schools
4.) Berkeley County School District
5.) Richland School District Two
6.) Aiken County Public School District
7.) Richland County School District One
8.) Dorchester School District Two
9.) Lexington School District One
10.) Beaufort County School District


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in South Carolina as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[7]

Demographic information for South Carolina's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 2,142 0.29% 1.10%
Asian 9,834 1.35% 4.68%
African American 259,170 35.64% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students 840 0.12% 0.42%
Hispanic 48,644 6.69% 24.37%
White 386,941 53.21% 51.21%
Two or more 19,615 2.70% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

Debate over evolution in state science curriculum

The South Carolina Department of Education rejected proposed changes to evolution's place in science curriculum standards during a meeting on June 11, 2014. State Senator Mike Fair (R), a member of the state Senate's Education Committee, proposed new standards in March 2014 that would require students to study the arguments for and against evolution. He argued in public hearings throughout the state that students deserved to learn about the controversy surrounding natural selection. State education officials decided against Fair's language, opting to maintain curriculum standards first established in 2005 that do not include discussion of creationist theories in biology courses.[8]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The South Carolina Department of Education initially adopted the standards on July 14, 2010. Full implementation took place during the 2013-2014 academic year.[9][10]

On May 30, 2014, Governor Nikki Haley (R) signed legislation that removed South Carolina from Common Core. Common Core standards for mathematics and English will remain in place for the 2014-2015 academic year, but new standards will be written and implemented for the 2015-2016 academic year. Some argued, however, that the substance of the new state-drafted standards would differ little from the Common Core standards. State Senator Brad Hutto (D) said, "The spin is that we did away with, abolished, Common Core. We didn't do anything this year other than move up in time the cyclical review, probably to the detriment of the review."[11][12]

School board composition

South Carolina school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. South Carolina school board elections typically follow one of these two methods:[13]

  • At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
  • Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.

School boards can consists of five, seven or nine members. Board members serve terms of two, three or four years.[13]

District types

School districts in South Carolina are organized by county. Each county has at least one public school district offering K-12 courses.[14]

Term limits

South Carolina does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.[13]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: South Carolina school board elections, 2015

A total of two South Carolina school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for nine seats on November 3, 2015.

Here are several quick facts about South Carolina's school board elections in 2015:

The districts listed below served 20,627 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2015 South Carolina School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Spartanburg County School District 6 11/3/2015 4 9 10,658
Spartanburg School District 2 11/3/2015 5 9 9,969

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in South Carolina, a person must be:[13]

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A resident of the school district at the time of the election

Candidates file nominating petitions with county elections officials at least 75 days prior to the election. A valid petition features signatures from district residents totaling at least 5 percent of registered voters in the school district.[13]

Campaign finance

State law requires local candidates to file campaign finance reports with the South Carolina State Ethics Commission. The first report for a school board candidate is due within 10 days of receiving or spending $500 in campaign funds. Candidates who do not receive or spend $500 are required to file pre-election reports within 15 days of the election. The maximum contribution amount in an election cycle for local candidates is $1,000 per person.[15]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. United States Department of Education, "2012 EDFacts State Profile," accessed August 12, 2013
  5. South Carolina Department of Education, "State Board Member of Education," accessed June 13, 2014
  6. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
  7. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  8. The Post and Courier, "SC Board of Education rejects adoption of new biology standards," June 11, 2014
  9. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
  10. South Carolina State Department of Education, "Common Core State Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
  11. Education Week, "Common Core standards could change little," June 16, 2014
  12. The Washington Post, "Two more states pull out of Common Core," June 5, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 South Carolina State Election Commission, "So You Want To Be A Candidate," accessed July 9, 2014
  14. South Carolina State Department of Education, "School Directory," accessed July 10, 2014
  15. South Carolina State Ethics Commission, "Campaign Practices," July 9, 2014