Dillon Four to host meeting on district funding inequities

Dillon Four to host meeting on district funding inequities

DILLON, SC (WMBF) - State political and education leaders are coming to the Pee Dee to learn about the consequences of unequal funding for school districts.

"We want our kids to have the best and the brightest, but it's very difficult when you don't have the money to work with," said Ray Rogers, superintendent of Dillon School District Four.

Thirty-three school districts, including Dillon Four, sued the state for inequities in district funding back in 1993.

The original decision made back in the late 90s was that funding was not equitable only for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The districts appealed.

"We've been in limbo for some 22 years over the final decision that was made," Rogers said.

The state supreme court decided at the end of last year there are funding shortfalls, and something needs to be done about it. This upcoming Monday, a 17-member committee will sit in Dillon Middle School hearing about how funding problems are negatively affecting students.

The committee is made up of state house members, ex-superintendents and education leaders.

Their job is to find out facts about challenges facing rural districts and how much funding is needed to ease them. The committee will then present its findings to the South Carolina Supreme Court next February, Rogers said.

"It's getting the funding so that every child gets at least a minimum education," he said.

Dillon Four's main concerns are getting funding to secure qualified teachers, create smaller classrooms, fix buildings, add more arts education and keep up with technology.

"All the tests are going to be on computers, so we've got to have the software, we've got to have the people who are very knowledgeable in it, we've got to have all of that to be able to teach the kids," Rogers said.

There are already 11 speakers on the agenda. People who sign in at the meeting will also have time to speak.

"Hopefully we can give them some insight into some questions they got. We're going to give them what information we can share with them," Rogers said.

The meeting will be in Dillon Middle School's gymnasium 4-8 p.m. Monday.

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