Darlington County to consolidate several schools

Darlington County to consolidate several schools

LAMAR, SC (WMBF) - For two schools less than a mile apart, the gap between some parents and the school district couldn't be any larger right now.

"It's just like we don't matter," said Thomasena Davis, a longtime Lamar resident and member of the Spaulding Alumni Association.

Without the community's input, the Darlington County School district decided to combine two schools and move one starting next school year.

Lamar Elementary and Spaulding Elementary will both move into Spaulding Middle school. The middle school will move into the old Lamar Elementary School building.

The Spaulding Alumni Association says the news blindsided them, since they found out though local media.

"Look at the children here now, what is it going to benefit, what's going to be the beneficial result behind this?" asked Davis. "We don't know because we're just learning about it."

Davis says not being a part of this decision opens up old wounds. She was in the local schools when they desegregated in the 70s and was there when the high school moved in the 80s.

She and the rest of the local alumni worry, once again, their voices aren't being heard.

"Children are resilient, however it takes the parents and it takes the community to rally around those kids to make them prepared for whatever changes that are gonna affect them," said Mary Ann Mack, also with the Alumni Association.

The Darlington County School District says it looked at the changing demographics and believes this move is the what's best for everyone moving forward. It says there will be many more decisions to come and the district plans to invite plenty of community input.

"We are here for our children and to do what's best for our kids," said Davis. "We want them to have the best education, but do it fairly."

The school district says the changes will go into effect for the 2016-2017 school year. It doesn't believe it should have to make any major changes to the facilities.

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