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Forum set on school financing referendum in Florence

January 5, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – Students First, a 504 (c)1 organization set up to raise awareness about a Feb. 26 Florence One Schools referendum, will host its first forum to educate people on the referendum at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Central Methodist Church in downtown Florence .

If the referendum proposal passes, it would raise $198 million to build a new Savannah Grove Elementary School, Southside Middle School, Williams Middle School and a combined Timrod Elementary School and Wallace Gregg Elementary School. The funds also would pay for renovating the three high schools – South Florence, West Florence and Wilson – adding security improvements, classrooms and new gyms to the schools.

Stephanie Rawlinson, the executive director of Students First, said the event is primarily for supporters of the proposal, but it is open to all people to learn about it.

The Students First organization invited Florence One Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley to give an update on how the referendum money would be spent.

During the forum, committee leaders in the organization will speak on various efforts, among them Steering Committee Chairman Robert LeMaster and Carroll Player, who leads the grandparent coalition in favor of the proposal.

Rawlinson said students have taken an active part in the Students First organization by leading the grassroots efforts and leading some committees.

“We want to inform everyone, and the efforts being made for the referendum, how to help and what the referendum will do,” Rawlinson said.

Rawlinson said she hopes to see parents get involved with Students First.

Currently, Students First is raising money. Checks can be made payable to Students First and mailed to the Hillsouth Office at 318 W. Palmetto St. A website will be made soon for the organization.

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