Haleys might have to pay tuition to keep kids in Lexington 1 schools

Gov.-elect Nikki Haley will have to jump through some hoops to keep her two children enrolled in their Lexington 1 schools.

Meanwhile, Richland 1 officials have not given up on wooing the incoming first family to their school district.

The Haleys' January move into the Governor's Mansion puts them in the Richland 1 school district that is zoned for H.B. Rhame Elementary, St. Andrews Middle School and Columbia High School. The most recent state report cards rate Rhame and St. Andrews "below average" and Columbia High as "average."

However, Haley already has said her daughter and son, ages 12 and 9, will stay in the Lexington 1 schools they already attend -- Lexington Middle and New Providence Elementary, both rated "excellent."

"The Haley family is working closely with Lexington District 1 to ensure both that their children can remain with their friends and teachers in the public school district they have called home since their first day in kindergarten and that the family is in compliance will all rules and laws set by the district," said Rob Godfrey, Haley's spokesman.

To keep the children in Lexington 1 schools, however, the Haleys must make some changes in order to meet that district's attendance policies since their primary residence will be at the Governor's Mansion, not within Lexington 1.

The Haleys must:

  • Have one piece of property per child, valued at $5,000 or more, put in each child's name. For example, they could transfer the deed of their home in the Governors Grant subdivision in Lexington 1, which the Haleys have said they will keep, to one child and buy other real estate, valued at $5,000 or more, within the school district for the other child.
  • Pay Lexington 1 the difference annually between the taxes paid on the property owned by the children and the district's cost to educate each child. That would work out to more than $7,500 for the two Haley children minus the tax on the transferred property.
  • The Haleys have until the beginning of next school year to meet the requirements. Since the Haley children will not move out of the Lexington 1 district until next semester, school district policy allows them to finish the school year in the district.