In order to provide South Carolina children the ability to remain in a school of their choice or to have a new alternatives for quality education in a safe setting, Gov. McMaster recently used $32 million in federal CARES Act funds entrusted to his discretionary administration to create the Safe Access to Flexible Education (SAFE) Grants program.
The SAFE Grants program provides working class and low-income families with a scholarship of up to $6,500 per student to pay tuition and fees at a private or religious school. The governor anticipates that approximately 5,000 scholarships will be awarded in total for this fall’s rapidly approaching school year.
This program takes no existing money away from public education. What it does is give families the financial support to keep children in their current school and allow others trapped in schools that do not meet their needs a rare opportunity to choose the best educational setting for their child.
Liberty Justice Center, attorneys for Palmetto Promise, are best known for their victory in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. The Center is currently litigating on school choice across the country, including in Tennessee where the Nashville and Memphis mayors seek to halt a new scholarship program for children from low-income families. In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that parents can use publicly funded vouchers to send their children to religious-based institutions. Justice Samuel Alito’s explanation for why he agreed with the Court’s decision specifically mentioned the argument made by the Liberty Justice Center in its amicus brief.