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After rebuke, South Carolina gov changes COVID money plan

Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press |

Gov. Henry McMaster announced Tuesday how he will spend about $20 million of the $48 million set aside for him to spend at his own discretion. The governor has a May deadline to decide how to spend the remaining $28 million in grant money.

McMaster’s initial plan announced in July was to spend most of the money on grants of up to $6,500 to help parents send children to private or religious schools which were providing in-school instruction when most schools across the state were still having virtual classes at least part of the time.

The state Supreme Court ruled in October that McMaster’s plans broke the state constitution by sending public money to private schools. The decision also put on hold $2.4 million set aside by the governor for technology improvements to historically Black universities and colleges. McMaster has not announced if he will restore that money.

The governor’s new plan announced Tuesday sets aside $8 million for South Carolina technical colleges to allow 3,100 people who lost jobs in the pandemic to take classes for free for jobs in health care like certified nursing assistants or in manufacturing, criminal justice or computers.

McMaster will spend $7 million to expand full-day pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds. The program is free for families whose children are on Medicaid or make just under double the federal poverty level.

The new plan also gives $4.9 million to the South Carolina Department of Social Services to improve education in 74 group homes and for about 600 children living with foster families.

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