COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – The South Carolina State Board of Education has approved over $55 million in funds allotted by the General Assembly to be used for school facility improvement projects in 48 eligible school districts, include several local districts.
"I commend State Board Chair Dr. Ivan Randolph and the State Board of Education on their steadfast work to hear and approve these capital improvement requests." said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. "Many of South Carolina's schools do not have the local revenue available to make substantial safety and infrastructure improvements and these funds will go a long way in improving conditions in those areas. By allotting this funding to the Abbeville districts, the General Assembly has shown a commitment to improving outcomes and conditions in the areas that need it most. I look forward to working with them to continue this commitment into the future."
The General Assembly set aside $55.8 million to fund school facility upgrades for any district that was a plaintiff in the Abbeville lawsuit, or district with a poverty index of 80 percent or higher, according to a news release from the state board. Forty-eight districts were eligible and applied for funding, and were each allocated $1,163,101.
The SC Department of Education established application due dates for districts, ranging from August 11 to November 10. Districts submitted applications with their top three capital improvement project funding requests, which were required to address health and safety, technology, career and education programs, or deferred maintenance needs, the release states. Facilities eligible for funding included instructional and related support facilities, such as classrooms, libraries, media centers, labs, cafeterias, and physical education spaces.
Among the approved projects were:
- Darlington School District requested $1,000,000 for HVAC for elementary schools
- Florence 1 requested $1,000,000 for repairs at McLaurin Elementary School
- Florence 2 requested $1,000,000 for roofing, classroom, bathroom accessibility and other upgrades at Hannah-Pamplico High and Hannah-Pamplico Elementary/Middle School
- Florence 3 requested $1,000,000 for a roof replacement at Lake City High School
- Florence 4 requested $530,000 for restroom repairs and security upgrades
- Florence 5 requested $915,920 for a HVAC replacement at Johnsonville Middle and lighting at several other schools
- Marion County School District requested $1,000,000 for safety and security upgrades and renovations at Britton’s Nick Elementary and other school facilities
- Marlboro County School District requested $1,000,000 for energy efficiency, including roof and HVAC renovations
Projects not eligible for funding included centralized district administration facilities, facilities normally identified with interscholastic sports activities, and new construction projects, the release states.
The SCDOE and the Board of Education analyzed the funding requests using facility assessments completed by third-party contractors hired and paid for by the state earlier this year.
A full list of each district's approved request can be found below: