Marlboro County School Board approves new grade reconfiguration plan


BENNETSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – The Marlboro County School District (MCSD) received $1.5 million dollars from the State to upgrade technology in schools. The school board has to decide on which schools to invest the money.
Superintendent Dr. Helena Tillar told the school board, Thursday night, that the state is going to require online testing next year, so if the schools were to wait, there could be problems.

Last month, the board reversed a reconfiguration plan recommended Dr. Tillar. The plan included sending some Elementary students to Marlboro High School after parents said student safety was at stake.

“My job was to make the best professional recommendation I could regarding safety, security and what was best for not only our children but also facility and staff,” said Tillar.

Tillar said the proposal was a temporary solution until the board developed a plan for Bennettsville Intermediate and the School of Discovery. She says both schools are older with mold and flooding problems

The board moved to a new reconfiguration plan:

  • Third, Fourth and Fifth grade students will stay at Bennettsville Intermediate School (approved at previous meeting—carried over)
  • Sixth, Seventh and Eighth grade students will move from Clio to Blenheim Elementary Middle School (vote 4-3)
  • Sixth, Seventh and Eighth grade students will move from Bennettsville Intermediate School to Blenheim Elementary middle school (vote 4-3)
  • Students will stay at the school of discovery (vote 6-2)
  • Deputy Superintendent will look into leasing space for 45 students at the Alternative school

“The reconfiguration has been a really difficult situation. What is good money wise doesn’t make parents happy. Students want to cling to the schools they’ve gone to and feel strongly about. There are just so many issues,” said Lucy Parsons Board Chairman.

Dozens of parents like Jeremy Bethea want answers on where his two Bennettsville Intermediate students will be in six weeks, when school starts.

“It’s still confusing, although I listened to the motions that passed. I’m still a bit confused as to what is actually going to happen. Quite honestly I think the board is still confused as to what is going to happen, said Bethea. “It’s changed so many times.”

Parsons said the board must break down the issues, values and goals in the district.

“We’re trying very hard to find a win, win for everyone. Every board member here is doing that even if we have conflict,” said Parsons.

Bethea hopes the board can get on one page and do what’s right for students.
“Making sure they are in a safe environment. Making sure that they are exposed to the best technology that the region has to offer. That’s what I’m looking for,” Bethea said. “I’m looking for my kids to be able to receive the same quality education that kids in surrounding areas are receiving.”

The new reconfiguration plan puts a hold on the budget and salary scales.

An emergency resolution was approved to continue paying employees.

The board plans to meet again in July.