Committee seeks to provide insight, guidance on Florence Four consolidation amid questions from families

Pee Dee

TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) — Parents in Timmonsville have a lot of questions about Florence Four’s planned consolidation with Florence One Schools.

State Superintendent Molly Spearman announced a new committee Tuesday that aims to make the transition as smooth as possible for families.

“The community just wants some clarity of what’s maybe going to happen or supposed to happen with this transition,” Timmonsville police chief Thomas McFadden said. He’s a member on the committee and football coach at Timmonsville High School. “I’ll be able to give them more insight and more details on it to let them know what the plans are.”

He said the plans are still in their early stages. The consolidation with Florence One Schools is slated to be effective July 2022.

“When the buses come through here — sometimes he oversleeps,” Christine Lowery said about her eighth grade son. “And I don’t have transportation to get him to Florence.”

Under the consolidation plan, Timmonsville High School would be retired and students would need to attend a Florence One high school. Despite some transportation concerns, that’s something Lowery and her son Terry are open to.

“Because if I go to a Florence school there’s more chance I’ll get into a higher college,” Terry Lowery said.

Not every family is convinced.

“They still got to think about the kids,” Joyce McDowell said. “We ain’t got nothing in Timmonsville as it is and they’re about to take our high school. I think that’s wrong.”

“I don’t want to go because this is my home,” ninth-grader Trinity Brown said. “And it makes me cry because I thought I was going to graduate from Timmonsville.”

The state took over operation of the district in 2018 to improve academics and financials, among other things.

Other members of the committee include Florence One Schools board members and Florence Four administrators. The committee plans to hold public meetings and accept public input. Additional members may be added in the future.

“Parents are going to be concerned about their kids well-being and education wise what to expect,” Chief McFadden said. “So once we get clarity on that I think people will be a little more comfortable.”

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