Lawmaker to Hold Meeting on Orangeburg Consolidation

Orangeburg County, SC (WLTX) -- Parents in Orangeburg will have a chance to voice their opinions about consolidating the county's school districts.

Representative Russell Ott will host a public hearing on the issue Tuesday evening. He says other lawmakers have held similar meetings on the issue and he wanted to allow his constituents the same opportunity.

"The schools are the backbones of a lot of these communities and that's why I think folks are so passionate about it, and I wanna make sure that their voices are heard," said Ott, a Democrat who represents, Orangeburg, Calhoun, and Lexington Counties.

During the legislative session a proposed senate bill would have combined the county's three districts. That bill did not survive the session, but another could come up next year and Ott wants to be ready.

"I think the reason the legislation was introduced is because there's been a decline in the number of students across the county," Ott said of the bill.

Orangeburg Representative Jerry Govan, a democrat, says years ago, Orangeburg consolidated from eight districts to the current three, districts three, four and five.

He says he has not heard anything from his constituents that would make him move for consolidation.

Both lawmakers says they have heard concerns from people about local autonomy and representation as well as the closing of schools and employees and board members losing their positions.

Ott says of those in favor point to possible cost savings that could come from combining the districts.

Still Ott says he just wants to here from the community.

"What I'm trying to do right now is gather as much information as I possibly can to be able to make a good informed decision," he said.

Ott's meeting will take place Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Dover Elementary School in North, at 1421 Bedford Avenue.


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