County Council worried about Jasper Co. School District - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

County Council worried about Jasper Co. School District

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JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) -

Jasper County Council members said they're worried because the issues plaguing the school district are starting to have a negative impact on the county as a whole.

School officials have acknolwledge the issues and they say they're working hard to make sure they don't hurt the students or the county.

In July the district filed a lawsuit against the County Council over their budget.

In August the district received an "F" grade on the pass test for the second year in a row.

In October, many parents questioned their childrens' safety after a gang related fight broke out at the high school, sending some students to the hospital.

Now the district is under a federal investigation, and no one seems to knows why.

"We're keeping our focus. We're not letting this get to us. Every district has their obstacles, and we're going to overcome ours," said spokewoman Shelly Murdaugh.

The County Council said the obstacles in the school district are not only darkening its schools, it's also hurting the county.

Chamber President and council member Martin Sauls said a troubled school district makes it very difficult to get businesses to come to Jasper County.

"They're concerned their employees won't have a quality school system for their children to attend," said Sauls. "It presents an incredible number of challenges for our county. I'm looking for positive results out of this investigation."

And so are school officials, according to Murdaugh. She said their number one priority is the students.

"We are going to keep our goal, which is to educate children," said Murdaugh.

There are some people in the county who are against the district because they're upset with everything that's going on.

Stacy Kirk is one of those people, and she said she pulled her son out of Jasper County Schools because of the way things were being run.

She said even if the federal investigation dertmines that there are no illegal doings going on at the district, she will not support the superintedent or her staff.

"There is no trust here," said Kirk.

The U.S. Attorney's office isn't releasing any information about the investigation.

The district has confirmed that four employees have been subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury in April regarding the investigation.

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