State law requires community member representation on school governance councils or in school improvement planning efforts.
South Carolina Code of Laws 59-20-60 Spending priority; audits; evaluations and reports; statewide testing programs; innovation initiatives; school improvement councils; Education Finance Review Committee.
(6) Each school board of trustees shall establish an improvement council at each school in the district and this council is to be involved in improvement and innovation efforts at the school. The council shall be composed of at least two parents, elected by the parents of the children enrolled in the school; at least two teachers, elected by the faculty; at least two students in schools with grades nine and above elected by the students; other representatives of the community and persons appointed by the principal. The elected members of the council shall comprise at least a two-thirds majority of the elected and appointed membership of the council. The council should also include ex-officio members such as the principal and others holding positions of leadership in the school or school organizations, such as parent-teacher groups, booster clubs, and federal program advisory groups. Each council shall assist in the preparation of the five-year plan and annual updates required in this section, assist with the development and monitoring of school improvement and innovation, provide advice on the use of school incentive grant awards, and provide assistance as the principal may request as well as carrying out any other duties prescribed by the local school board. The local school board shall make provisions to allow any council to file a separate report to the local school board if the council considers it necessary. However, no council has any of the powers and duties reserved by law or regulation to the local school board. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this subsection, an area vocational center’s school improvement council must be composed as defined exclusively by federal law. The council shall perform all duties and responsibilities provided for in any state or federal law which applies to these councils. In order to provide additional accountability for funds expended under statutory requirements, the elected members of the school improvement council shall serve a minimum term of two years. Parents of students or students in their last year of enrollment at an individual school may serve terms of one year only. The terms must be staggered and initially determined by lot. Elections of members to school improvement councils shall occur no later than October fifteenth of the school year. The elections must be organized to ensure that every parent and faculty member has an opportunity to vote each year. Within thirty days following the election, the names, addresses, terms of service, and status of all council members as a parent, teacher, student, or representative of the community must be provided to the School Improvement Council Assistance at the University of South Carolina for the purpose of sharing information. The district board of trustees shall include in its annual district report a summary of the training opportunities provided or to be provided for school improvement council members and professional educators in regard to council-related tasks and a summary of programs and activities involving parents and citizens in the school.