TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Gov. Henry McMaster toured Timmonsville High School Monday morning to learn about the school's needs.
Timmonsville High School is the fourth stop of the eight school districts affected by the South Carolina Supreme Court's 2014 ruling on Abbeville County School District versus State of South Carolina.
"I'm trying to get new ideas to understand the challenges that the schools are facing," McMaster said. "It is clear if we're going to progress as a state and have more and more prosperity, then we have to educate the children."
McMaster met with Principal Tonya Addison and other school leaders before the tour to talk about how to effectively improve quality of education. After the meeting, they walked the halls and stopped by classes to talk to teachers and students about their curriculum.
McMaster said the challenges that the "most vulnerable school districts" face stem from poverty and the lack of qualified teachers.
"The economic prosperity of a place is directly involved with educational attainment, and the other big factor is the teachers and the principals," McMaster said. "If you have the best teachers and principals, you can do a lot without money."
McMaster and Addison believe bringing in local businesses to improve the economic development of the community will help.
Addison said her goal is to prepare students for those business opportunities.
"Our partnership with our technical school, we spoke about that as well said," she said. "Whether it be welding or automotive, however our kids can benefit from those programs to support those businesses is our initiative."
Other programs include RUSH, a dual enrollment program where students from Timmonsville High School can take college courses at Florence Darlington Technical College. This is implemented through a one-to-one initiative that allows students more access to technology.
Titus Echols, a senior at Timmonsville High School, believes programs like RUSH and other efforts are taking the school in the right direction.
"Timmonsville is now on the come up. We have been down at our lowest points, I think, and now we're starting to pick back up. We're in a rebuilding stage," Echols said. "It's good that the governor comes in and that we have positive news coming around, and, you know, keep the students uplifted and keep the progress going."