My wife grew up in Rock Hill, SC (just over the SC border) and my in-laws were both in the public school system there. They would tell you straight off, do not put your children in SC public schools. Sanford has been hacking funding for schools there as part of cost cutting/lowering taxes and they are in bad shape.
Charlotte on the other hand is a great place, but has been hit hard by the downturn in banking. NC annexation laws have allowed it to expand into its suburbs and maintain a strong tax base, so it has decent services and doesn't really have a very depressed inner city area. It has installed light rail lines out towards the major suburbs and I would encourage your friend to take that into account when looking at real estate. The light rail is clean and efficient; I was impressed. The large banks downtown have fueled a lot of cultural growth as well. I've gone to Charlotte to catch Broadway plays and music concerts. There are nice places for children as well.
If he is working north of town, your friend might consider the countryside between Winston Salem and Charlotte. Land there is reasonable and I-85 will get you to either one in a reasonable amount of time.