State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman today announced the allocation of $38 million in state funding to Clarendon County Schools to assist in the renovation and replacement of antiquated existing school facilities with safe, modern facilities to accommodate current and future county enrollment trends. Clarendon County will receive an additional $3,125,000 to assist with the soon to be completed consolidation of its two current districts into one county wide system. The funding is part of the $100 million appropriated to the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) under Proviso 1.104 of the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 and $140 million under Proviso 1.92 of the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2022-2023.
“With school facilities approaching 100 years of age, it is long overdue that the state provides financial support for counties like Clarendon which cannot afford to build new facilities on its own,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “With the influx of COVID-19 relief money and generous support of the General Assembly, we are pleased to be able to provide the additional funding that these districts need to provide safe, state of the art facilities that students, families, and educators need and deserve.”
In April of 2022, the SCDE commissioned independent facility studies of schools in the state’s poorest counties to aid in decision making for capital funding appropriated by the General Assembly for disadvantaged schools. Clarendon County is composed of ten separate schools and an alternative school. Current enrollment of the soon to be county-wide district is 4,328 students.
“The announcement of this infrastructure funding could not be more timely with the upcoming consolidation of Clarendon School District Two and Four,” said Sen. Kevin Johnson, who serves District 36 in the General Assembly. “I am grateful for the state’s investment in our County that will provide educators and students with the facilities needed to maximize their full potential.”
The independent review of schools in Clarendon County concluded the age and condition of the ten schools are problematic toward long term educational use without significant modification and renovation. The schools have an average age of 67 years old.
“The investment the state of South Carolina is providing for our educational system will help our district to achieve our main mission of educating students,” said Dr. Shawn L. Johnson, Superintendent of Clarendon County School District. “We appreciate Superintendent Spearman for ceaselessly leading and ensuring that public education in the state remains the best choice for our parents and students.”
The facility assessment team recommended the following:
The funding being provided by the SCDE will be used to address the district’s most critical need as identified by the facility assessment team - the replacement of Walker-Gamble Elementary School. The $21 million in FY 21-22 Proviso 1.104 funding, which includes $3,125,000 for consolidation expenses, and $17 million in FY 22-23 Proviso 1.92 funding will be leveraged along with previously provided consolidation funds to ensure adequate funding for the new facility and consolidation expenses.
In addition to the funding for Clarendon County, the agency has also announced the allocation of $38 million to Saluda County School District and $38 million to Lee County School Districtfrom the $100 million in state funds appropriated under FY 21-22 Proviso 1.104. The SCDE has allocated an additional $17 million to Allendale and Dillon County school districts for capital improvements from its $211 million set aside from the American Rescue Plan.
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