SC House approves bill combining Marion districts

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - One of South Carolina's poorest counties would become a single school district under a bill approved by the House.

The House voted 84-0 Thursday to allow Marion County to finish combining its three school districts.

School district consolidation is often talked about in the Legislature, but legislators are generally unwilling to do anything and risk a backlash from constituents.

But Democratic Rep. Jim Battle says his county school board voted unanimously to seek the legislation.

Marion County's three school districts include the smallest in the state, with fewer than 650 students.

There is a single county administration. The proposal would finish a process initiated a couple of years ago, by combining the districts' financial operations.

Marion County has the state's highest unemployment rate at 17.3%.

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