The State Board of Education has declared a state of emergency for two of Timmonsville's three schools, opening the way for S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman's office to take over managing them.
The board acted unanimously, at Spearman's recommendation, at a meeting Tuesday in Columbia.
Spearman said the two schools, Brockington Elementary and Johnson Middle School, had not met the goals set in a Challenge to Achieve Plan.
The Timmonsville schools, which make up Florence County School District Four, have been under state scrutiny for months because of poor performance.
District Four's board of trustees has called a meeting for 6 p.m. today in the district's Media Center. The entire meeting might be held in executive session. The agenda lists an executive session to discuss personnel matters.
“Two of the schools in Florence School District Four are not meeting our state’s high expectations of academic achievement,” Spearman said in an announcement. “We are taking this action to ensure the best opportunities for students and excellent support for teachers. This decision is best for both educators and students in Brockington Elementary and Johnson Middle.”
Attempts to get comments from board of trustees members and Superintendent Andre Boyd were unsuccessful. The Morning News was able to speak directly to board members C. Chippy Johnson and Derrick Echols, who both said they could not comment on the situation. The others were unreachable.
In a letter from Spearman’s office, dated Feb. 29, the district was notified that Spearman would be making the recommendation for declaring a state of emergency. recommendation. The letter laid out the possible course of action if the recommendation was accepted, including the removal of the principals of Brockington Elementary and Johnson Middle.
The letter, addressed to Timmonsville Superintendent Andre Boyd and District Four Board of Trustees Chairman Richard Hodges, also said that Spearman had made the decision to reconstitute the schools after the current school year.
A reconstitution would mean that the school’s faculty and staff would be removed from their positions. Some of them could be rehired after undergoing an evaluation.
Spearman said that regardless of what decision has been made, the priority should be the students.
“We are in discussions with the Florence Four Board of Trustees about the best courses of action,” Spearman said. “Any changes will occur with notice to the schools and community over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the schools continue to be open for business, and we want everyone focused on providing the best education possible to these students.”