To the Contrary

The Interstate 73 dispute

No one eager to see the S.C. Department of Transportation get going on the construction of Interstate 73 disputes that there must be compensation for any environmental damage entailed in the project. Federal law requires such.

Even if it didn't, offsetting damaged environmental treasures -- such as the 30 acres of the Pee Dee River Heritage Trust Preserve that the interstate would destroy -- is the right thing to do. ...

The DOT has offered $450,000 for the Department of Natural Resources' use in replacing the 30 wetland acres with upland acreage adjacent to the preserve. But after mulling over the offer, the DNR's leadership announced that it is inadequate. ...

The two agencies, in short, now are a whopping $1.35 million apart in their negotiations.

... In the case at hand, Gov. Mark Sanford, a proponent of public accountability and transparency, could exert pressure on the DNR to make nice with the DOT and cut a reasonable deal on the I-73 bridge. ...

This dispute gives Sanford a perfect early-second-term opportunity to show that his concern with about accountability is more than talk.

Improving education

Hidden among the headlines of bad news about SAT scores in South Carolina was a nugget that offers hope for equity in school funding and moving the state's education system ahead.

State public school performance in many categories has lagged the nation since scoring on high-stakes standardized tests was initiated. Disparity in funding for school districts across the state has been a large factor in performance.

It is imperative that poor districts -- or poor-performing kids in wealthy districts -- not be left behind. ... It will require stamina and courage for change.

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