Major funding cuts and authoritative changes are in store for the John de la Howe School if Gov. Nikki Haley's proposed executive budget for fiscal year 2014-15 passes.
John de la Howe is an alternative school in McCormick County for wayward youth in grades six through 10. The school management is currently under review by the state Office of the Inspector General. According to the OIG, a report on the review will be ready in the next seven to 10 days.
Haley's proposed budget would slash funds for the school by almost a third and would introduce the Department of Juvenile Justice as an overseer to board operations and decisions.
The proposed budget recommends: "the elimination of the school's support through the EIA (Educational Improvement Act) and a one-third reduction in general fund assistance" for John de la Howe.
According to the proposal, this is because the per-student costs at John de la Howe far surpass those at similar institutions with similar conditions. The school has one of the highest costs per student rates considering its poor performance. For 2011 and 2013, the school received a "School at Risk" rating on its Annual Report Card and an "N/R" or "no rating" for 2012 because the school failed to complete the reporting requirements.
The proposed budget states: "John de la Howe's annual costs per student are far beyond the rates charged by Level II facilities (peers), wilderness camps, or even Ivy league universities."
The budget also recommends Proviso 7.2, which allows the school to lease residences to employees with very little restrictions be amended and requires the school report to an external agency.
According to the budget, this amendment would "impose reporting requirements and require that rates be market based."
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