FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – More questions for Florence School District One leaders. 
Tuesday, parents asked for answers regarding a trend of resignations at West Florence High school.

Wednesday afternoon, the Lifeline Plus Organization met at the district office to ask about equity and how the former superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges spent $1M. 

Elder James Williams, Lifeline Plus chairman attends every school board meeting.
He says remembers when the board agreed to use $1M for ‘innovative funds’ three years ago.

The July 23, 2015 minutes ask former Superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges to research new and innovative programs for the district.

The section of the minutes read:

Chairman Stewart then entertained a motion. Mr. Townsend made a motion to authorize Dr. Bridges to take any monies that are saved through efficiencies in operations that the superintendent has initiated and is continuing to make within our district (as illustrated by our recent contract with Kelly Educational Services) that the superintendent be authorized to utilize these monies to fund research and new and innovative educational practices within our district schools; further, that an additional $1,000,000 from district funds in addition to also fund this initiative. Elder Pipkins seconded the motion.

“All of our children deserve innovation and technology…,” said Williams. “We thought when this funding was allocated that it was intended to benefit all children in every sector of our school district. But looking that this data that is obviously not the case.”

Williams filed a Freedom of Information request asking how the money was spent. He says the district’s spending is not equal for each school.

The expense report the group obtained from the district shows Carver Elementary received a little over $123,000 whereas Savannah Grove Elementary received $710.

FSD1 Innovative Fund expenses: 7/1/16- 2/28/18 

Elementary Schools
Savannah Grove Elementary- $710.97
Dewey L. Carter Elementary- $26,287.20
Delmae Elementary- $82,458.17
Lester Elementary- $30,672.15
Royall Elementary- $13,000.61
Greenwood Elementary- $35,300.00
McLaurin Elementary- $35,300.00
Wallace Gregg Elementary- $27,037.20
Carver Elementary- $123,046.78

Middle Schools
Williams Middle School- $992.73
Southside Middle School- $5,837.50
Sneed Middle School- $72,937.00
Moore Intermediate School- $16, 226.95

High Schools
Wilson High School- $20, 777.13

Alternative School
Alfred Rush Academy- $750.00

District Office- $135,243.41 

“What happened? Who made the decisions as to who got what,” asked Williams.

Williams questions where the rest of the money is going. He says nearly $375,000 is not accounted for.

“When we have these kinds of funds being allocated so indiscriminately… it just begs for questions. That’s what we are here for. To question what’s going on,” said Williams.

The district says they created an ‘innovative design team’ after the money was approved.

Each school was allowed to apply for programs at their school. 

Some schools were awarded money for programs, while others were not or did not apply.

More than a dozen programs were created and schools not listed in the report have applied for funds.

The full statement reads:

After the Board approved the $1 million dollars to be used for new innovative programs to go in schools, an Innovation Design Team was formed. The team consisted of teachers, building level administrators, parents, students and central office staff. The Design Team reviewed a number of new programs over several months. After programs were vetted, schools were allowed to apply for the programs they were interested in implementing in their schools. A subcommittee of the overall Design Team scored the application and they were awarded to various schools that submitted the best application. There were some schools that didn’t apply for the program at all. Therefore, initially, they didn’t receive a program.

After the initial awarding of the programs, schools that didn’t receive a program were approached about what they would like to implement. Additional schools received funding for programs at their request if the funds were available.

Most of these programs will need funding to sustain the programs for at least three years to determine their effectiveness. There is funding available to do so.

Moore was awarded a program from eSpark but didn’t continue with it because it was too expensive. However, it did allow them to buy some additional chrome books.

New Programs/ Initiatives

-Dewey Carter Elementary- Discovery Education, Classworks Literacy Program

-Carver Elementary- STEM/STEAM Magnet School, AdvanceEd Certified, and Smart Lab

-Lucy T. Davis Elementary- AVID Program and 1:1 initiative

-Briggs Elementary- Discovery Education and Leader in Me

-Delmae Elementary- Language Immersion Program, Discovery Education, AdvanceEd Certified and 1:1 initiative

-Greenwood Elementary- LightSail Literacy Program and Discovery Education

-McLaurin Elementary- LightSail Literacy Program, Discovery Education and Montessori program (will be school wide in two years)

-North Vista Elementary- Planning year to become PYIB school and Discovery Education

-Lester Elementary- Achieve 3000 Literacy Program

-Savannah Grove Elementary- Discovery Education and Computer Science Immersion

-Royall Elementary- Legends of Learning, AdvanceEd Certified and zSpace

-Timrod Elementary- Year- Round calendar and achieve 3000 literacy program

-Wilson High School- Early College Program

-West Florence High School- AdvancedED Certification

-Southside Middle- 1:1 initiative, Discovery Education, AdvanceEd Certification

-Williams Middle School- Legends of Learning

-Sneed Middle School- AVID Program and Legends of Learning

-South Florence High School- 1:1 initiative

Developed partnership with Discovery Place in Charlotte to facilities  STEM/STEAM professional development

-West and South Flroence, Wilson, Sneed, Southside and Williams are in their second year with the Southern Region Education Board (SREB). Exploring new ways to make instructional delivery more engaging.