Gov. Henry McMaster visits Marion and Dillon County school district

MARION, SC (WBTW) – Governor Henry McMaster toured two Pee Dee county schools Thursday, one in Dillon and Marion County.

The two districts were included in the original Abbeville lawsuit where the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered lawmakers find ways to improve rural schools.

Students at Easterling Primary School greeted the Governor before the tour.

“The children are bright and enthusiastic but there are some things we need to do to be sure that all of the children are getting a good education,” said McMaster. “It’s not a secret it’s an open secret… everybody knows it… if you have good principles and good teachers you have a good school.

Marion school district leaders kicked off the day in a private meeting to talk with the Governor about concerns the district currently faces.

Dozens of rural districts statewide including Marion received $147,000 for technology.

Superintendent Dr. Kandace Bethea says the district is creative with limited funding but face challenges like bringing teachers to the area.

“When we talk student achievement and positive student outcomes, regardless of what programs or resources we have the number one factor research shows is a quality teacher. That teacher makes a difference,” said Bethea.

The county discussed the possibility of more money to help the district keep teachers.

“We need funds that are sustainable so that we can keep people when we get them here. It’s about recruitment and retention,” said Bethea.

McMaster says he hears the district’s concerns and is thinking about more funding and the economic benefit to the state.

“What we are trying to do is figure out the best way to have top quality education for every child in South Carolina,” said McMaster.