State of Emergency declared for two schools in Florence School District 4

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – The State Board of Education declared a State of Emergency in Brockington Elementary School and Johnson Middle School in Florence School District Four.

The announcement came at the request of State Superintendent of Education Molly M. Spearman.

“When I ran for State Superintendent, it was with the intention of ensuring a high-quality, public school education for all South Carolina students,” said Spearman. “Two of the schools in Florence School District Four are not meeting our state’s high expectations of academic achievement. The State Board reviewed the situation and determined that a state of emergency should be declared under the Education Accountability Act. The full board voted unanimously.”

Florence County School District Four Board of Trustees met in executive session Monday night for nearly three hours to discuss the district’s accreditation issues. The meeting was also used to prepare the Board of Trustees, which went before the SC Board of Education Tuesday in Columbia.

“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,” indicated Spearman.

“The State Board of Education supports Superintendent Spearman’s decision,” said State Board of Education Chairman Mike Brenan. “It is in the best interests of students and teachers that we change direction and help Florence Four and the community move forward.”

Upon the State Board’s declaring a State of Emergency, Superintendent Spearman can continue technical assistance to the schools, remove the principals, and assume management of the schools.

Last month, the State Board of Education placed some of the schools on probation and parents in the district, like Timothy Charles, say they are concerned for the future of their children.

“I don’t want the state to take over. My daughter loves this school. She’s in the fourth grade and from 0 to 4 she’s been in this school. I want to keep her here under the management we’ve got because we’ve got some very, very good teachers,” said Charles.

Still under consideration are issues related to the district’s accreditation and financial risk status.

“We are in discussions with the Florence Four Board of Trustees about the best courses of action,” said Spearman. “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.”

To learn more about the agency’s final recommendations to the State Board of Education for its March 8 meeting, please click here.

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