SC lawmakers to take a closer look at school district consolidation bill

SC lawmakers to take a closer look at school district consolidation bill

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Senator Tom Young (R-Aiken) said he knows school consolidation can be a hot topic for some.

That’s why Sen. Young and the rest of the Senate Education Subcommittee said they will be taking their time while discussing a bill on school district consolidation.

Sen. Young said he wants to make sure this bill is clear and precise. At the end of the day, they want to make sure the money that goes towards education is being used wisely and helps every student in the state.

Senate Bill 203 bill will set some criteria for consolidation for struggling school districts in counties with multiple school districts.

The bill said: Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, school districts in this State that meet at least two of the following criteria and are in a single county shall be consolidated within the county boundaries in which the districts are located. Districts shall be consolidated if:

  1. the average daily membership of the district is less than one thousand five hundred members;
  2. the school district contains a school with an accreditation status of probation or denied;
  3. the school district is currently under state designation of Fiscal Caution or Warning pursuant to Section 59-20-90; or
  4. the district has a risk assessment of medium or high or has a school or schools that have been in improvement status for three years.

(B) This section does not apply to a school district that is the only school district in a county."

Sen. Young said there a few different factors they need to figure out before this bill makes it to the Senate floor.

“What happens with the debt and millage issues?" Sen. Young asked. "What happens with the salaries that are paid to the district employees are they brought up to the new district standards?”

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman testified in front of the Senate Education Subcommittee Thursday morning. She voiced her support for the bill.

The subcommittee asked for Spearman to propose some amendments to the bill.

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