Education by the numbers in South Carolina

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One thing doesn’t changeeducation is always a hot topic in South Carolina. The sentiment shared amongst most is that teachers don’t get paid enough for all that they do. We count on educators to mold the future generation with the skills they need for tomorrow. 

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to teach South Carolina students these important tools? There is a helpful dashboard for that, thanks to Palmetto Promise. Today, we’re breaking down the numbers of what a public education (K-12) costs in South Carolina. 

💰How much do we spend?

Education spending represents approx. 40% of South Carolina’s general fund. State K-12 education spending, which comes from the Department of Education, totaled $4.8 billion in 2019-2020. This is the first time the budget reached this amount in state history. Add in local + federal spending to this sum and the annual education budget climbs to $10.4 billion (not including coronavirus federal emergency funds).  

💰Where does the money go? 

This one-of-a-kind dashboard compares data for each district, including per student revenue, percent spent on instruction, graduation rate, college readiness, and average teacher salary. 

Let’s take a closer look and make cents of these numbers. 

Education stats for South Carolina | Image via Palmetto Promise Dashboard

South Carolina public education by the numbers for 2020-2021:

758,752 Number of students in South Carolina 

52,733 Number of teachers in South Carolina 

81 – Number of public school districts

683 – Number of primary schools 

335 Number of middle schools 

248 Number of high schools


81% – State graduation rate 

49.7% – State average for SC Ready 3rd grade English Language Arts 

36.6% – State average for SC Ready 8th grade Math 

41.7% – State average for college readiness 

72.5% – State average for career readiness


$14,801 – State average revenue per student 

$9,497 – State average public school spending per student 

$49,737 State average teacher salary 


Wondering what these numbers look like in your district? Check out the dashboard below.

Dig into the local data.