Marion County School Board to use bond for school security upgrades

Marion County School Board members celebrate academic and athletic success early in Tueday's meeting.

MARION, SC (WBTW) – It was a unanimous vote at Tuesday’s Marion County School Board meeting, as members approved a bond resolution to both upgrade schools and save taxpayers money.

“At the heart of everything we do is teaching and learning,” said Dr. Kandace Bethea.

Dr. Bethea became Marion County Schools Superintendent two months ago. In that time, she said she has focused on improving both opportunities for students and those who work for her.

“To get to this level and have the opportunity to work with staff and students of varying levels has been a very rewarding experience,” Dr. Bethea said.

“Learning environments are so important to the academic process,” said Marion County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kandace Bethea regarding Tuesday’s decision to spend funds to upgrade schools

For many years, the school district has paid down debt on the buildings at Creek Bridge Middle and High School from a $500,000 bond. That bond will be paid off this year. Bethea said the money will be used to make needed upgrades to schools over the next few years.

“With that, we feel like we have a great opportunity as a district to make some capital improvement updates and modifications to our aging buildings,” Bethea said.

Dr. Bethea said a three-year plan to use the money will start with needed security updates, like new cameras and updating security at school entrances to keep students safe.

“Learning environments are so important to the academic process,” Dr. Bethea explained. “So we’ll have the opportunity to redirect some of those funds to make these improvements that are needed throughout our facilities.”

Moving forward, Dr. Bethea said improving access to early childhood education is among her biggest goals to make sure kids get a head start on the path to success.

The current debt on Creek Bridge High School in Marion County is set to be retired in May, school board members learned Tuesday.

“Making sure that we’re offering the best model for students in Marion County, so we’re in a conversation and have been out doing site visits to early childhood centers in the state of South Carolina that have been successful,” Dr. Bethea explained.

Above all, Bethea said it’s students–like those honored for academics and athletics at Tuesday’s meeting–that make her job worthwhile.

“That’s my favorite part,” Dr. Bethea smiled. “When we’re able to highlight the successes of our students.”

Dr. Bethea said the new bond will replace the old bond immediately when it expires in May and that no new taxes are expected for people in Marion County.