Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

S.C. Supreme Court agrees to hear SAFE Grant Case

Molly Hulsey //August 20, 2020//

S.C. Supreme Court agrees to hear SAFE Grant Case

Molly Hulsey //August 20, 2020//

Listen to this article

The dispute over Gov. Henry McMaster’s private school grant program will be heard by state Supreme Court justices on Sept. 18 after an Orangeburg judge halted the grants on July 22.

“I think that’s a good place for it to be,” McMaster told GSA Business Report on Aug. 12. “I have confidence in our court.”

Both parties welcome the hearing, which may determine whether the governor’s $32 million Safe Access to Flexible Education Fund, financed by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, violates state constitutional provisions against the use of public funding to directly benefit independent schools.

The SAFE Grants, if distributed, would aid payment of private school tuition for an estimated 5,000 families with an adjusted gross income of 300% or less of the poverty level.

“We’re encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision to expedite this case, which has held up urgently needed education assistance for students impacted by COVID,” Ellen Weaver, president and CEO of Palmetto Promise Institute, a co-defendant in the case, said today in a news release. “We are confident in the merits of our legal case and hope we can quickly resolve this issue for over 15,000 South Carolina families who have reached out, desperately seeking peace of mind for their child’s education.”

Days before the announcement, Skyler Hutto, representative of plaintiff Thomasena Adams, said both sides looked forward to a resolution, whether the case was accepted by the Supreme Court or passed back to a circuit court.

“It’s a mixed bag. I trust our Supreme Court’s judgement, but, of course, I also trust the judgement of our local judges,” Hutto told GSA Business Report.