State superintendent: Florence County leaders should consider consolidating all 5 school districts

S.C. Superintendent: Consolidation of FSD4 is inevitable

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolina Superintendent Molly Spearman was the keynote speaker for the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce members luncheon.

Spearman addressed COVID-19 and education standards, but she also addressed the potential consolidation of Florence School District Four and the fate of Timmonsville High School.

“I think it lies right now in a big decision, the fate of Timmonsville school, do we want it to be the status quo or do we want it to be the best it can be,” said Spearman.

Two years ago, the state of South Carolina started running Timmonsville’s Florence School District 4, due to chronic financial instability.

As recently as September, Spearman, along with students and parents, discussed the consolidation of FSD4 into another district. A move that would likely include closing Timmonsville High School.

During the luncheon, Spearman was asked about the future of FSD4.

“I have to make a decision, I think it’s inevitable there will be change there with the high school, it’s just when is it best for that to happen,” said Spearman.

While Spearman said Florence Four has made great strides over the last two years, the lack of students and money is preventing students, especially in the high school, from having the same extracurricular and academic opportunities seen in other districts.

“I’m talking with lots of folks, and not just trying to make the best decision for the adults over there, or anywhere, but what is the best decision for the students, and that’s not always popular, because the adults are the ones who talk and vote,” said Spearman.

The conversation over the future of Florence Four led to another question. Should Florence County consolidate all five school districts?

“This is my personal opinion, but I think you should consider consolidating all five,” said Spearman.

Spearman said the districts aren’t doing anything wrong but thinks it would be better to come together for the good of Florence County.

“This might not be the most popular thing to say Tom (Ewart), but I’m going to be frank, ya’ll are about progress and what is the best economic situation to build Florence County. Come on chamber of commerce let’s make those tough decisions together,” said Spearman.

Spearman said she hasn’t determined when a final decision on the future of Florence School District Four will be made, but it will be soon.

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