Students, staff, and leaders rally to ‘save’ Denmark Technical College

Updated: Apr. 3, 2019 at 7:30 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Carieon Robbins says because of Denmark Technical College he is one step closer to his dreams.

Robbins is a freshman at the historically-black college in Bamberg County.

“My goal is to graduate from Denmark Tech and go to a four-year college and study physical education,” Robbins said.

Robbins joined dozens of other students, staff, alumni and local leaders for a rally at the State House Wednesday afternoon to ‘save’ the school.

Cassie Tucker is a cybersecurity student who will be graduating this May. She said Denmark Tech gives students in the Allendale, Barnwell, and Bamberg County-area priceless opportunities.

“I needed something that was like a bridge and if that’s taken away students in the community won’t have that," Tucker said.

A proviso in the SC House’s version of the budget would remove Denmark Technical College from the state’s technical college system. Denmark Tech would become an area trade school.

The South Carolina Technical College System said the school will be operating at a deficit within six months.

Interim President Dr. Christopher Hall, said things are turning around at Denmark Tech.

“We had to look at every program. We had to look at every process. We’re in the process of making the college more efficient in what we do," Hall said. "Not only in how we do things, but how much we’re spending to get those things accomplished.”

The South Carolina Technical College System said if the school stays in the system after June 30, any shortfalls incurred by Denmark Tech will negatively affect funds available for the other 15 schools in the system.

They say according to their projections, Denmark Technical College with has a $2 million shortfall. Smaller schools in the system would be impacted by $25,000 and larger schools could see an impact up to $300,000 to cover the shortfall.

Dr. Hall said his school has been working with an independent consultant to make sure that deficit doesn’t happen.

“We know the things we’re doing as far as monitoring our resources and cutting expenses where we can to make sure on June 30, we will be in the black," Hall said.

Dr. Hall said the school’s current enrollment is 414 students. They have marketing campaigns underway to recruit more students to attend school. He believes if the proviso is removed in the final budget the school will reach its full potential.

Students and staff say they will keep fighting for their school as the Senate begins to debate the budget plan later this month.

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