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Adult education programs to be combined in Florence County

Lauren OwensMay 18, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – Adult education services across Florence County will combined under one director in the next school year.

In a called meeting Thursday, the Florence One Schools Board of Trustees approved the combining of the program now operated by Carol Hill in Districts One and Four with the programs operated in Johnsonville and Lake City.

Hill will become the director over the countywide program.

The projected budget for the Florence School Districts Two, Three and Five for the merged program will be $233,000, according to Hill. The number won’t be final until the staff does the final hiring and find out what funding it will have to operate on.

Board member E.J. McIver said he wanted to see the data showing that a countywide adult education program would actually save money and be successful.

Trisha Caulder, vice chairwoman of the board, said adult education consolidation across the county is not a new concept because while she was in charge it was something the county had. Caulder was director of the Poynor Adult Education Center for 14 years.

“ It allows us to be more creative,” Caulder said. “It works very well.”

Caulder said that after the countywide shared adult education services ended, Timmonsville stayed with Florence One Schools.

“I think that all of our districts can benefit from this,” Caulder said.

Board Secretary Porter Stewart said during the discussion that legally the county sharing adult education services is not a merger or consolidation; it is being done under a memorandum of agreement or a voluntary agreement.

Hill said adult education makes a difference in the community because studies show that more highly educated people are healthier.

“I think what this will do for the county is it will provide a larger work-ready adult population because adult ed is about helping adults have the work ready skills that they need,” Hill said.

Adult education is open to individuals 16 years old and older. The program is free to participants.

“The students this year are able to get free services … because last year’s students in the program were so successful,” Hill said. “It’s a pay-it-forward kind of business paradigm.”

Currently, the Florence adult education program charges a $35 fee that provides some benefits to student, such as graduation gowns. Hill said the other locations have not charged a fee in the past, and she does not plan to change that moving forward.

Hill said the previous directors in the other locations have done a good job with adult education and they’re going to try to keep it great.

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