HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Schools spent nearly $50,000 to hire a consultant to discover what the public thought about the schools and find a way to reach the public.
Fifty-one schools and nearly 42,000 students may seem like a lot, but in Horry County that's just a small part of the population. This past year, the district made a move to clarify something very important.
"People simply did not understand what Horry County Schools does," said Denise Blackburn-Gay, the woman the district hired as a consultant.
"We did a lot of focus groups, a lot of intercept studies, and asked people what they thought of Horry County Schools and then of course reported back to Horry County Schools in terms of how we might be able to reach those people," said Blackburn-Gay.
In those meetings, Blackburn-Gay found there is no one way to reach everyone. She says print media works for some, while new media works for others.
"Marketing strategies really did not do anything for Horry County Schools that they could not have done on their own, had they had the time," She explained.
Horry County Schools would not speak to WMBF News on camera but did release a statement.
It says: "Blackburn was essential in helping the district staff think about marketing and message management for more effective communication. "
"There's a great unawareness out there of what really happens, and I would encourage everybody in the community to get involved," said Blackburn-Gay, while thinking about the past year. "It's easy to say what's going wrong with something if you don't really know."
Blackburn-Gay's contract expired January 31. She was paid $48,000 for her year of consulting. ?