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For Parents

Where is the promised TRANSPARENCY?

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The South Carolina Department of Revenue and a 5 person legislatively appointed board started running South Carolina’s “special needs” scholarship program on JULY 1, 2016.  It was and still is the NATION’S ONLY government run K-12 tax credit scholarship program.  Since that time, even the DEMOCRATIC CONTROLLED state of Illinois (think liberal Chicago) has implemented a $75 MILLION K-12 tax credit scholarship program … run by INDEPENDENT NON-PROFITS.

Nobody … not even liberal states … think it is a good idea to do it the way SC does … and given the $2.9 million (out of $12 million) raised as of 9/30/2019 … and inability to administratively issue scholarships timely … it is no surprise no other state does it this way.

REMEMBER … the only viable bill option to FIX THIS MESS is S 131 / H 3202 as championed by Senator Tom Davis (R – Beaufort).  About 25% of the legislature has sponsored the bill and a lot of others have pledged their support … but that is not enough.

But, since July 1, 2016 when the state government started running the program … we have also harped on TRANSPARENCY.

Why?  Because they promised us all TRANSPARENCY!!!

On July 29, 2016, then Department of Revenue Director Rick Reames & (not so) Exceptional SC Board Chairman Tom Persons wrote an op ed in the Charleston Post & Courier promising transparency!

(For article, Click HERE)

Also on Tuesday October 2nd, 2017, (not so) Exceptional SC told parents they were “committed to transparency, integrity and continual improvement to the program …”

How has that worked out???  It seems worse now than ever.

Those are just two of the numerous examples and promises from (not so) Exceptional SC and the SC Department of Revenue related to TRANSPARENCY.  

Now see what they are really DOING today related to “transparency” …

For Parents

ALEC gives (not so) Exceptional SC a “D-” for 2018

Permanent Law raises them from an “F” in 2016 & 2017.

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We are not the only ones that think the nation’s ONLY government run K-12 tax credit scholarship has been a total failure.  The national conservative group American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC) has also rated the program a big fat “D-“.

Only “Permanent Law” which was signed on May 18, 2018 raised their grade from an “F” in 2016 & 2017 when the Department of Revenue & (not so) Exceptional SC took over administration of the program from independent non-profits. #FollowTheMoney!!!

Here is the ALEC report card on (not so) Exceptional SC.

And how does (not so) Exceptional SC compare to our neighbors in Georgia? Not so good. The $100 million Georgia program got a “B+”. And what is the main difference? Georgia uses independent non-profits!!!

Remember, South Carolina is the only program in the nation (23 total programs in 18 states) that is government run. All the others are administered by independent non-profits.

As the graph above demonstrates … the exact same South Carolina program got a “B” in 2014 … when the SC program was still a year-by-year budget proviso and run by independent non-profits.

The solution is simple and obvious to everyone … the only question is will legislators finally fix this debacle in the 2020 legislative session? Stay tuned …

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For Parents

DOR releases October 31, 2019 Fundraising Totals – It’s BAD!!!

(not so) Exceptional SC continues to fail.

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FUNDRAISING UPDATE: Only $133,350 raised in October!!!:  Well, thank you to the SC Department of Revenue for continuing to post the monthly fundraising totals with another update on Friday … and continuing to THROW #FireChadConnelly under the bus for his complete failures.

The numbers don’t lie … we only have less than 2 months left for them to raise $8,942,535 .. when they only raised $133,350 last month.  This is a dangerous and unnecessary game (not so) Exceptional SC is playing with our children.  All so Chad Connelly can have a job???  #FollowTheMoney!!!

And worse … if it was not for the $100,000 publicity stunt donation from C. Dan “Subprime” Adams who is the Board Chairman of Palmetto Promise Institute (one of the main groups behind this mess) … they would have only raised $33,350 last month.  THE WORST MONTH YET!!!

And what is (not so) Exceptional SC’s excuse … this week?  See the insanity they told parents this week in their every month or two update:

The tax law changed December 22, 2017 … nearly two years ago.  This is no “transition year” … and EVERYBODY … except apparently (not so) Exceptional SC … knew it.

And it gets worse ….

Remember this from last week.  We pointed it out to the Department of Revenue … and within a few hours their General Counsel was asking the SC Association of CPAs to REMOVE Chad Connelly’s article.  Two years on the job and Chad thinks ALL 73 business taxes in SC are eligible for the credit???

CPAs will never trust this guy!!!  Would you???

And worse … if individual CPAs don’t trust the legal / unconstitutional structure of the NATION’S ONLY government run K-12 tax credit scholarship program enough to advise a client to give $5,000 or $10,000 donation … WHY DO YOU THINK A MAJOR CORPORATION IS GOING TO GIVE MILLIONS?!?!?

Corporations don’t even donate in states were the programs are constitutional … just look at Georgia and the 2019 results of their $100 MILLION program!!! 

10% corporate donors … DOWN from 15% historically.  What is Chad Connelly talking about?!?!?!

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For Parents

Application FEE starting in 2020?

This is frankly disgusting.

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APPLICATION FEE?!?!?!:  WOW … talk about pouring salt in a wound!!!  Exceptional SC needs to hire a PUBLIC RELATIONS firm to advise them … or maybe they already have … click HERE.

Anyhow … no other state we have EVER HEARD OF charges parents an application fee.  We checked a few programs around the country and can’t find a single one charging an application fee.  This is frankly disgusting.

The “application” technology company is a group called TADS.  We have claimed for years now that these sort of monied special interests are the ones funding the “paid” advocates.  We have heard tons of complaints about TADS … and seen even more complaints about TADS in other states.  Particularly we heard TADS was a massive bust in Illinois when they rolled out the $75 million tax credit program there.

Palmetto Kids FIRST would have NEVER HIRED TADS in the first place … we NEVER charged an application fee … and we would NEVER charge an “application fee” to parents.  For those of you who have been with us since 2014 … can you imagine what the opposition would have said if we had tried to charge parents a fee???  But now … it’s fine???  HECK NO … JUST SAY NO!!!

The application process is easy … but they “need” a TADS to collect all YOUR DATA … and YOUR CHILD’S DATA!!!  “Data” and lining their pockets is what this “application fee” is all about.  Sad …  

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