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Spearman calls on Florence One to start taking steps to consolidate with Florence Four

(WMBF News Oasis)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 2:42 PM EST
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FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A letter from South Carolina’s state superintendent calls on Florence One Schools to start taking steps to consolidate with Florence School District Four.

In March 2021, Superintendent Molly Spearman announced that the two districts would consolidate. The South Carolina Department of Education started managing Florence Four in May 2018 after declaring a state of emergency due to the district’s “chronic financial instability.”

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Since that time, the SCDOE said significant improvements have been made to the Florence Four district.

“The financial status of the district has improved and an on-time, clear audit with a reserve fund of more than the statutory requirement was received,” Spearman wrote in a letter to the Florence One School Board Chairman Porter Stewart on Monday.

But she added in the letter that sustaining operations and programming at the district has been difficult and is calling for the consolidation of the two districts to become effective on June 30, 2022.

“In the 2022-23 school year, all middle and high school students in what is now Florence Four will attend the middle and high schools in the current Florence One and will have choice among those schools,” Spearman stated in the letter.

It also said Brockington Elementary will continue to serve students in Timmonsville and it will be enhanced as a 4K-5 Magnet School for the Arts which will feed into two arts magnet middle schools in Florence One.

Spearman said that immediate action should be taken to inform students and parents of school and class selection. She also requested that teachers and staff from Florence Four to be considered with priority for staffing needs.

In the letter, Spearman requested that the school board allow Florence One Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley to begin acting as the designated superintendent of Florence Four.

The Florence One School Board will meet on Thursday where they are expected to discuss the consolidation. Under action items on the agenda is the “authorization action on request from State Superintendent for Florence School District Four.”

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