Denmark Tech sues SC, saying the state financially starved historically black school

Denmark Technical College has filed a lawsuit against the state of South Carolina for its plans to downgrade or consolidate the state’s only historically black technical college.

The suit, filed in Bamberg County where Denmark is based, says the S.C. Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education intentionally underfunded the school.

“The Tech Board’s policies and treatment of (Denmark Tech) spare no other explanation than they were adopted and implemented for an improper and discriminatory objective, namely, to shutter the historically black technical college through a design of financial starvation coupled with unlawful political maneuvers,” according to the lawsuit.

The most recent plan for Denmark Tech is to downgrade it to a trade school, which would keep the doors open, but local proponents say would hurt the local economy.

Denmark Tech faces a crisis as it struggles to recruit more students, which bring tuition dollars needed to keep it afloat. Since 2008, enrollment at Denmark Tech has decreased 82 percent, according to a previous article from The State.

At a recent rally outside the S.C. State House, Denmark Tech proponents called on current students and alumni to help recruit more students.

The lawsuit also points to how Denmark Tech has suffered from a lack of local support — though the suit notes that the counties it serves are too poor to contribute more money. For example, between 2014 and 2018, Denmark Tech received a total of $38,100 from county contributions to the school, while Greenville Technical College received $59 million, according to the suit.