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S.C. schools chief Rex to bring reform message to Rock Hill

State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex will spend Wednesday in Rock Hill as he makes his way across the state on a "back-to- school tour."

The visit is part of Rex's effort to drum up support for his push to reform the way South Carolina pays for public education.

His schedule includes a 12:30 p.m. appearance on Rock Hill radio station WRHI's "Straight Talk" show (94.3 FM).

After a lunch with area business leaders, Rex is scheduled to speak to educators at 2 p.m. at The Oratory's Pope John Center.

Rex is expected to stress the need for "student-centered funding," which would essentially earmark money for individual students, rather than dole it out to districts. The money allotted each student would go to the school he or she attends.

Last week, Rex visited Greenwood, Spartanburg and Charleston. Today, he's in the Clarendon County school district.

Rex's tour, which started on Aug. 14, follows the state's decision earlier this month to slash public school funding by 3 percent. Legislators cited the economic downturn and a budget shortfall as reasons.

The S.C. Department of Education estimates the cut means a $73 million loss for schools.

Meet Rex in Rock Hill

State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex will chat with WRHI radio host Manning Kimmel at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Harry and Jean's restaurant. Their talk will be broadcast live on 94.3-FM. Harry and Jean's is at 1940 Cinema Drive in Manchester Village, off Dave Lyle Boulevard.

Rex is scheduled to speak to a group of educators at 2 p.m. Wednesday at The Oratory's Pope John Center, 434 Charlotte Ave. The discussion is open to the public.

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About school funding

South Carolina's property tax reform law, passed in 2006, changed the way public schools in South Carolina are funded. Under the new funding formula, homeowner property taxes that were formerly used for school operations were abolished and replaced with the proceeds from a new penny sales tax.

Schools in high-growth areas such as Rock Hill and Fort Mill have been particularly hard hit because the funding formula was based on previous rather than current attendance levels

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