Perry stumps in Columbia to sold-out crowd

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

COLUMBIA — Republican gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley says South Carolina’s old, fragmented funding system for public schools must be simplified to give every student a quality education.

The three-term Republican state House member also said Thursday the state must put more money toward educating students from low-income homes.

Both are ideas legislators have talked about for years without making progress. The state’s basic funding formula dates to 1977. House Democrats have fought repeatedly for poverty to be a factor in funding. Republicans consistently reject those proposals.

Haley says the debate would be different if she’s governor.

She would not talk about her support of helping parents send their children to private schools. Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen criticized her on that issue Wednesday.