South Carolina - Family Engagement in Local Governance: Stakeholders

Policy Type: 

State law requires parent or family member representation on school governance councils or in school improvement planning efforts.

South Carolina Code of Laws Section 59-18-1300 District accountability system; development and review

The State Board of Education, based on recommendations of the division, must develop regulations requiring that each district board of trustees must establish and annually review a performance based accountability system, or modify its existing accountability system, to reinforce the state accountability system. Parents, teachers, and principals must be involved in the development, annual review, and revisions of the accountability system established by the district. The board of trustees shall ensure that a district accountability plan be developed, reviewed, and revised annually. In order to stimulate constant improvement in the process of teaching and learning in each school and to target additional local assistance for a school when its students’ performance is low or shows little improvement, the district accountability system must build on the district and school activities and plans required in Section 59-139-10. In keeping with the emphasis on school accountability, principals should be actively involved in the selection, discipline, and dismissal of personnel in their particular school. The date the school improvement reports must be provided to parents is changed to February first.
The Department of Education shall offer technical support to any district requesting assistance in the development of an accountability plan. Furthermore, the department must conduct a review of accountability plans as part of the peer review process required in Section 59-139-10(H) to ensure strategies are contained in the plans that shall maximize student learning.

South Carolina Code of Laws Section 59-20-60

(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.

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