COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – Some school board officials in South Carolina believe that it is unnecessary to include detailed codes of ethics in the reform bill. education because they already abide by state codes of ethics and that these changes could prevent people from being part of the governing bodies of their local schools.
Senators from South Carolina heard for the first time Wednesday a public testimony about a draft law on education reform to reform the state education system. Members of a Senate subcommittee on education focused solely on the sections of the bill related to the code of ethics of school boards.
The proposed legislation would require the State Board of Education to adopt a Model Code of Ethics that local school boards are expected to adopt by June 2020, but school board officials have stated that they were already complying with the laws on ethics. Tony Folk, president of the South Carolina School Boards Association, said board members were already adhering to nepotism and conflict of interest laws that other state elected officials feared and that the application of Strict codes do not prevent people from wanting to serve.
"Many of the requirements for school boards are cumbersome. We are concerned that these additions are preventing citizens from sitting on the school board, "said Folk. "We should not make the race even heavier."
Senator Greg Hembree of North Myrtle Beach has proposed an amendment to delete a significant part of the Ethics Bill, including a section where members of the board of directors would have been criminally charged for not have completed a mandatory training program.
"I do not believe, philosophically, that it is justified to create separate ethical rules," said the Republican senator. "To say that school council members are subject to more stringent ethics laws than those imposed by the General Assembly, more stringent than those imposed by a mayor or municipal council, is meaningless. "
However, Steve Nuzum, a teacher at Ridge View High School, said the problem is not the lack of ethical codes, but the rules.
"We talk all the time about being accountable to teachers, we talk about it for students, and we all have to be accountable, especially to our constituents," Nuzum said. "There does not seem to be a lot of enforcement for a lot of things that would get me off my job rightly."
No action has been taken on the invoice. The chair of the education committee, Senator Hembree, said lawmakers would meet next week to discuss the legislation in more detail.
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