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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A Senate panel narrowly advanced a bill requiring South Carolina's school districts to teach students how to write in cursive by fifth grade. after questioning its $27.6 million price tag.

Senators sent it to the full Education Committee Thursday on a 3-2 vote. The state budget office estimates districts would have to spend a combined $25 million on instructional materials and $2.5 million on travel for teacher training.

Later, a Department of Education spokesperson said that figure was incorrect, and is lower. An updated number was expected later.

Republican Sen. Ray Cleary of Murrells Inlet questioned the price tag. He says every elementary school teacher should know how to write in cursive, and students only need a pad of paper.

State standards haven't required cursive writing in the classroom since 2008.

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