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Education Superintendent candidates talk improving student safety

The two candidates beat out four other candidates in the primary election.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The race for Superintendent of Education of South Carolina started with six candidates on the Republican ticket. 

Two weeks ago, the number of candidates was cut down to two. 

On Tuesday, Kathy Maness and Ellen Weaver vie for the Republican nomination.

RELATED: South Carolina runoffs: GOP education race; Democratic US Senate nod

News 19 sat down with both candidates to discuss important issues that impact South Carolina's public schools. 

The first topic was safety in schools and how to better protect students, faculty and staff.

“We have doubled the number of school resource officers in South Carolina in the last four years and we still have about 300 schools that need a resource officer. And so as superintendent of education I’m going to make sure that that is a top priority that we fund that in the budget," Ellen Weaver said.

“We have to improve school safety in South Carolina. I don’t ever want what happened in Texas to happen in South Carolina. So right after I’m elected we’ll be bringing together a group of police chiefs, sheriffs, SRO's students teachers and staff in our public schools of South Carolina safe," Kathy Maness said.

RELATED: SC education superintendent primaries end in one runoff, apparent victory in other contest

The candidates also discussed issues with recruiting teachers and then keeping them in the classroom.

“Also we have to give teachers pay raise. I appreciate the general assembly what they did last year with raising the minimum state salary schedule by $4000 and we need to continue to do that," Maness said.

“I know teachers just have a heart to teach and that’s what they want to do. So, we’ve got to change our culture in our classrooms get a hold of the discipline situation that we have and I’d like to our teachers to reach the national average in pay in the next 5 years," Weaver said.

The candidates also explained their plans to improve education standards in the state.

“We’ve got to get back to teaching phonics because that’s what we know will close the achievement gaps," Weaver said.

“I want to make every student that graduates from the public schools in South Carolina are ready for the three e’s enrollment, enlistment and employment,” Maness said.

Polls open at 7 am Tuesday and will close at 7 pm.

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