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Out with the old, in with the new: Clarendon County School district prepares to move schools forward

The changes come after the South Carolina Department Of Education completed a facility assessment.

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — Big changes are coming to the Clarendon County School District following a 2022 Facility Assessment from the South Carolina Department of Education of all the schools in the district.  

The goal of the study was to see the age and condition of the buildings, along with finding new ways to make sure kids were safe and could have an environment to learn.

"The Department of Ed commissioned an independent facilities study of schools in the state's poorest counties," said Derek Phillips, communications director for the South Carolina Department of Education.

"It concluded the age and conditions of the schools in the county were essentially problematic to long-term education so the assessment teams made some recommendations for what the district should do going forward," Phillips added.

The recommendations the department made were then given to the district.

During the March 6th school district meeting, the school board voted to move forward with these changes:

  • In the 2023-2024 school year, Summerton Early Childhood will merge with Dr. Rose H Wilder elementary school to form a K-5 school.
  • In the 2023-2024 school year. Manning Early Childhood will be reconstituted from a PreK-1 to a PreK-2 school.
  • In the 2023-2024 school year, Manning Primary School will only house students in grade 3 until the 2024-2025 school year, when they will move to Manning Elementary School.
  • In the 2024-2025 school year Manning Elementary School will be reconstituted from grades 4-6 to grades 3-5.
  • In the 2024-2025 school year, Manning Junior High School will be named manning middle school and will contain grades 6-8.
  • Students in grade 3 will remain at manning primary school and students in grade 6 will remain at manning elementary school until those grades are relocated for the 2024-2025 school year

The changes are getting mixed reviews from former students and staff.

"I hope everything works out alright and I'm quite sure it will," said former student Sheila Starks. 

Former teacher Gloria Manning said, "I think there are a lot more issues that need to be addressed." 

The study also recommended the rebuilding of Walker Gamble Elementary, which is currently underway.

It also says a new elementary school should be built in Manning, along with upgrades to Clarendon Middle/High. 

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