Rural School Districts Struggling With Basic Resources

Bishopville, SC (WLTX)- Rural school districts throughout the state are struggling to find teachers and fund basic resources like paper and pencils, says a Midlands lawyer.

Lee County is just the latest example where parents are voicing their concerns with board members and the superintendent. 

Lawyer Carl Epps says this is an issue that's been going on for a long time. For over two decades he's been fighting to get rural school districts the funds they need. These schools have been referred to as the "Corridor of Shame."

The Supreme Court ruled the state has to come up with a plan to help fund these schools, but parents say they're just not seeing any help.

Kristina Jones has her son enrolled in Bishopville Primary. He's a fourth grader and she says the conditions he's facing are just unfair.

"They're eating inside of the classrooms, I've never ever seen anything like that before" said Jones. 

The lack of basic resources like copy paper is evident when she says her little boy comes back home with handwritten homework assignments.

"My child is noticing that the teacher cannot make copies so as far as sending home homework, the kids in the fourth grade have to sit there and write down everything off of the board" trying to read the handwritten sheets has become a challenge for Jones and says that's affecting his education.

She along with dozens of parents have already voiced their concerns to the Superintendent and School Board Monday night. 

Lawyer Carl Epps, who is fighting for rural school districts' education says, "everybody should be frustrated, not only in lee County but in other parts of South Carolina should be frustrated that the state has chronically and consistently failed to support these schools."

By law, the state is to support every school in South Carolina and Epps says that if the school districts cannot raise the money independently, the state has to provide the resources and that's just not happening. 

"The child's chance at life is just determined by where that child lives and that's just not right" said Epps. 

After a Supreme Court ruling on a case commonly known as the "Corridor of Shame" the General Assembly had to allocate some money to the rural school districts that weren't getting proper funding. The Department of Education says 16 million dollars is going to those rural districts, like Lee County, later this fall. 
 


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