Hampton County school districts poised to merge

Hampton County school districts poised to merge

HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - The state of South Carolina is setting aside $50 million to split up among school districts that want to merge together.

The deadline to apply for the merger fund is Thursday, August 1st.

Hampton County has two different school districts with just over 3,000 students between them, and as the deadline approaches, both districts are on track to become one. Maggie Knox has three children in the Hampton County School System. Being familiar with the system, she says she is neither for nor against a merge.

“I wouldn’t say it’s good or bad,” she said.

She just hopes it helps people.

“I’m hoping it frees up some money for our teachers so they won’t be so strapped, especially being from a rural district," Knox said. “That makes things harder than Charleston, and maybe Savannah.”

Most students within the two districts belong to District 1. It is larger and has more students and teachers, but their performance is only marginally better than that of District 2. Both fall below the state average, according to South Carolina’s Department of Education.

One parent says she hopes it provides more opportunity.

“I think that it will be a good thing financially, and will give the less fortunate more opportunities,” Rebecca Gardner said.

WTOC reached out to the superintendents and board members of the districts, but we have not yet received a statement. According to the state, all preliminary paperwork has been submitted.

The state says since the deadline hasn’t yet passed, they can’t say for sure how much money each district will be getting from the merger fund.

WTOC will keep you updated as this story develops.

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