FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — After four years of uncertainty over the future of Timmonsville’s school system, the end was in sight Friday morning as consolidation with Florence 1 Schools took effect.

Molly Spearman, the state superintendent, first announced the consolidation in March 2021 after taking over Florence County School District Four in 2018. She later announced that Timmonsville’s middle and high schools would close.

The Florence 1 Board of Trustees was sworn in as leadership of the newly consolidated district, which now includes Timmonsville. The swearing-in came after Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill last month giving the local delegation authority to appoint the district’s board members.

Florence 1 Schools district areas three and four were combined into a new district three, represented by E.J. McIver. Alexis Pipkins, who represented the old district four, is no longer on the board.

Florence 1’s new district four, which includes Timmonsville, is represented by Gloria Bracey, who used to serve as the parent liaison for Florence County School District Four.

“Change is sometimes hard, but change can be good,” she said. “So we are going to do whatever is necessary to make it all work out.”

Since the consolidation was announced, Timmonsville students have left the classroom in protest and parents walked out of an informational meeting with Spearman.

Richard O’Malley, Florence 1’s superintendent, said he blames much of the resistance on poor communication.

“I think there were some issues regarding understanding the process,” he said. “We’ll never take away the rich history of Timmonsville. We want to carry that forward here in Florence 1.”

Bracey hopes her presence on the board will bring relief to concerned Timmonsville parents.

“Whatever way that I can help Timmonsville, that’s what I want to do,” she said. “That’s what I’m here to do.”

She said she plans to keep the best interests of the students in mind.

“Because that’s what it’s all about, the children, and making sure they get what they need,” Bracey said.

O’Malley said at Florence 1, Timmonsville’s students will have access to more options when it comes to classroom technology, curriculum, clubs and athletics.

“Onward and upwards, that’s the way we look at it,” he said.

Timmonsville’s elementary-aged students will continue to attend Brockington Elementary School, which has become and arts magnet school. Older students had their pick of Florence 1’s middle and high schools.