AP NEWS

Florence resident says community will have to pay for better schools

February 21, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – Bryant Moses said Wednesday evening that the community is going to have to pay for a better education system in Florence One Schools. Moses, a Florence resident, spoke during a Students First information session.

“I’m aware that taxes are going up,” Moses said. “My taxes are going up $300 a year, but what I see is the kids.”

Moses is a member of the Fellows in Education group that tours schools across the district. He said he’s visited Lester Elementary, Savannah Grove Elementary and West Florence High schools, and in each school students had to wear coats in the classroom because the heat was lacking in the buildings.

“Something is lacking, and the lacking I see is the building these kids are in,” Moses said. “We are going to have to sacrifice one day. Sooner or later we are going to have to.”

Moses said the community can’t let the past determine the district’s future.

The Students First information session took place at Greater Gethsemane Apostolic Church to talk about how the schools will be affected if the education proposal passes in Tuesday’s referendum.

Because of social media threats reported by the district, student volunteers were removed from working in the information sessions. According to Stephanie Rawlinson, executive director of Students First, security was increased at the session.

During the session, a panel of Students First members answered questions from the audience about the $198 building proposal from the district. Questions focused on athletic facilities and finances.

In response to a question from the audience about whether the district could continue using Memorial Stadium, Carroll Player said renovating Memorial Stadium would cost $12 million. Currently, the stadium has no access for handicapped individuals, no dressing rooms for the visiting team, he said. Player is a former school board member who is helping Students First.

Player said the athletic facilities would give multiple sports teams a place to play and practice and it would allow South Florence High to host track meets at the school. Currently, the school cannot host track meets because the track is in too bad a condition.

Doris Lockhart, a former school board member, said it is not conducive for the present generation.

“This present generation needs more than what our fore parents had at their disposal to educate our children,” Lockhart said. “Our children are more valuable than $300, $400 or $500 a year.”

The next Students First referendum rally will take place at Savannah Grove Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.