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Required State Policies

Do You Have a Policy on That?
Part Two

Last month we summarized the written policies and procedures required of school districts by federal law. State law and the State Board of Education also impose requirements for the adoption and/or submission of certain policies and plans by school districts. Major requirements are listed and described below to assist you in ensuring that your district has appropriate, current policies and plans in place.

Educational Programs

  • Scholastic Achievement and Promotions — Districts must adopt policies on student standards of scholastic achievement and student promotions.
  • Strategic Plan — Districts and schools must develop and submit to the State Department of Education a comprehensive five-year plan, with annual updates.
  • Lawful/Unlawful Absences — Districts must adopt policies that define lawful and unlawful absences, implement intervention plans for truant students, and provide a means to make-up work missed due to excused absences.
  • Student-Teacher Ratios — To be eligible for state funding to reduce class sizes in grades one through three, districts must establish policies that will target the lower ratios to students eligible for free and reduced lunch.
  • Children in Foster Care — Districts must have policies specific to children in foster care to facilitate enrollment and transfers, ensure proper course credit and grade assignment, provide access to all resources, services, and activities available to other students, and allow absences to be excused under circumstances particular to foster care.
  • Alternative Schools — To be eligible for state funding of alternative schools, districts must adopt a policy setting out the basis for enrollment and a detailed description of how the school will serve the educational and behavioral needs of the students.
  • Character Education — Districts must implement a policy addressing character education that includes an evaluation component.
  • Gifted and Talented — Districts must submit to the State Department of Education a gifted and talented program plan every three years, with annual progress updates.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) — Districts electing to charge a fee for AP or IB exams are required to develop a policy specifying that the fee does not exceed the actual cost of the test and taking into account the ability to pay.
  • Parental Involvement — Every district is required to adopt parental involvement policies.

Student Safety and Well Being

  • Safe Schools — Districts must include a safe schools checklist in the comprehensive needs assessment portion of its Strategic Plan.
  • Health and Nutrition — Districts must adopt policies on health and nutrition programs that include a school health improvement plan.
  • Individual Health Care Plans (IHPs) — Districts must have policies for the development and use of IHPs for students with special health care needs, to include procedures for administering medications and monitoring the student during the school day and at school-sponsored functions.
  • Automated External Defibrillators — Districts choosing to have automated external defibrillators in their schools should have a policy in place reflecting training and use requirements.

Student Conduct

  • Standards — Districts must adopt policies prescribing standards of student conduct.
  • Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying — Districts must adopt a policy prohibiting such conduct at school, establishing procedures for reporting and investigation, and describing the consequences and remedial actions to be taken.
  • Paging Devices — Districts must have a policy relating to student possession of paging devices, including cell phones and related electronic messaging devices.
  • Firearms — Districts must have policies requiring that students who bring firearms onto school grounds be referred to the local county office of the Department of Juvenile Justice.


  • Procurement — To receive disbursement of State funds, districts must adopt and file a procurement policy with the Division of General Services of the State Budget and Control Board.
  • Criminal Background Checks — Districts must have policies relating to background checks of certain employees and volunteers that specify how the information received from the background checks will impact hiring decisions.

Your district no doubt has other policies that, while not specifically required, have been adopted to ensure that schools and school personnel comply with State law and State Board regulations, and assure the effective and orderly operation of the district and its schools. The S.C. School Boards Association and the State Board of Education provide sample policies that contain both required and additional suggested provisions. Should you have any questions about these requirements or suggestions, please feel free to contact our firm.

pdf11 10 Required State Policies.pdf