Education officials were scrambling to see if the state still might be eligible for $143 million in federal money to stave off teacher layoffs.
The money was coming from a jobs bill Congress approved last week, but a change in language may disqualify South Carolina because it is one of several states that didn't maintain a sufficient amount of funding for higher education, officials said.
State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said he has talked with members of South Carolina's congressional delegation and with the Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents all of the nation's state education chiefs.
"Everybody's hoping that Congress can work this out," Rex said. "The simplest fix would be to change the bill's language back to the way it was in the federal stabilization legislation. That minor technical change could save more than 2,000 teachers' jobs in South Carolina and keep our class sizes from growing even further."
Department officials hope to get clarity later this week in a conference call with federal officials, said agency spokesman Jim Foster.