Fight over SAFE Grants heads to the South Carolina Supreme Court

August 5, 2020

PPI President and CEO Ellen Weaver was quoted in an article on SAFE grants by WACHFOX57

There’s a new case against South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who allocated $32 million of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds for SAFE Grants.

The case now will be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

The Safe Access to Flexible Education (SAFE) Grants program, which was launched in July by the governor, was immediately challenged in state court by opponents who said it was unconstitutional.

A state trial court in Orangeburg temporarily blocked the program while the legal challenge continued.

“We support the South Carolina Supreme Court taking up this case because a prompt resolution is essential for South Carolina children,” said Daniel Suhr, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Bringing the issue before the state’s Supreme Court is an important step to ensuring this case is decided quickly so students and parents can apply for SAFE Grants to pursue their educational choice this school year.”

The SAFE Grants are a first-come, first-serve fund that provides about $6,500 to any student attending a private or religious school.

The financial relief for moderate to low-income students seeking to attend or stay in a South Carolina independent school is in limbo due to court challenges.

“We are committed to protecting the relief that Safe Access to Flexible Education Grants would provide for struggling moderate and low-income students and their families,” said Ellen Weaver, President and CEO of Palmetto Promise Institute.

“We maintain that based on an overwhelming mountain of state and federal legal precedent, Governor McMaster has the ability to implement this lawful program that would give these students the opportunity to attend schools that fit their specific needs. We will use all legal means to continue this fight for those students who deserve the education hope that SAFE Grants will provide.”

You can read the case documents in Adams v. South Carolina by clicking here.