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Court temporarily blocks McMaster’s $32M private school voucher plan

Gov. Henry McMaster announced the SAFE Grants program Monday, which was designed to help subsidize tuition for private school for lower-income families.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced the SAFE Grants program Monday, which was designed to help subsidize tuition for private school for lower-income families.((Source: Jason Raven))
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 1:59 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An Orangeburg County circuit court judge signed a temporary restraining order Wednesday to prevent the distribution of SAFE Grants designed to help subsidize private and parochial school tuition for lower-income students.

Gov. Henry McMaster announced the Safe Access to Flexible Education Grants at a news conference Monday, saying he was allocating $32 million in funding for the program. The money comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. South Carolina’s share of GEER Funds totaled $48 million.

Under the plan, grants of up to $6,500 would be needs-based and to be eligible for SAFE Grants, a student must be from a household with an adjusted gross income of 300% or less of the federal poverty level, McMaster said.

The court order from Orangeburg County Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson states a hearing will be held at 2 p.m. on June 29 at the Orangeburg County Courthouse.

The plaintiff, who has worked for more than 15 years in public education, petitioned the court claiming the grant program violates a portion of the South Carolina Constitution preventing the state from funding private or religious education.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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