District Five already sharing services with neighboring school districts

August 28, 2018

JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. – Thirteen school districts in South Carolina were notified this month by state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman that they must submit a plan to consolidate administrative and professional services.

A new proviso to the Appropriations Act for 2018-19 says that any school district with an average daily membership of less than 1,500 students may be directed by the state superintendent of education to consolidate administrative and professional services with one or more school districts. Services may include finance, human resources, procurement, administrative functions, transportation and collaboration on increasing instructional offerings.

Of the 13 districts with less than 1,500 students, three are in the Pee Dee: Florence Two Florence Four and Florence Five.

Florence County School District Five Superintendent Randy Smiley said at a school board meeting Monday evening that the district has been sharing some services with other districts for a while now. A list of those services was included in board packets. Some shared services:

Adult education – shared with Florence Two and Florence Three.Alternative school – shared with Florence Two and Florence Three.School psychologist – shared with Florence Three.Staff development initiatives – shared with Florence Three.Food service purchasing of food items through bid – shared with Florence Two and Florence Three.Dual credit courses through Francis Marion University – shared with Florence Two and Florence Three.

According to the handout given to the board, future shared service plans include a technology consortium for equipment and software, CATE courses provided by the career center in Lake City and other courses through Florence-Darlington Technical College and Francis Marion University.

“Francis Marion has been wonderful to work with with some of the dual credit we’ve started with them, because I think right now we have kids taking two courses, or two courses are available to them from Francis Marion,” Smiley said.

There is a long-term plan for HVAC, welding and other trade programs to be offered in Lake City at an educational site being built on West Main Street, according to Smiley.

“FMU is going to offer two degree programs out of that building from the last thing that I’ve heard,” Smiley said. “That’s supposed to open in the summer of 2019. They want all of Florence County to participate but particularly us, Florence Two and Florence Three. And we’re hoping all of that will work out.”

Superintendents whose districts have fewer than 1,500 students were sent a letter by Spearman on Aug. 21 that served as an official notice that the district has 30 days to submit a plan to consolidate administrative and professional services.

There are consequences for not submitting a plan to the superintendent of education. If a district fails to submit a plan, the superintendent shall direct the consolidation of services with another school district, and if the district fails to comply, the department shall withhold 1 percent of the district’s EFA allocation until the district does comply.

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