Saluda County School District receives big check from state for big facility upgrades

SALUDA, SC (WOLO) — Funding from the state Department of Education in the amount of $100 million heads to some of South Carolina’s neediest school districts in the near future.

Thursday morning, $38 million of those dollars showed up in Saluda County.

“Pretty much a home-grown district. A well-kept secret. I brought my own two children back here. They both graduated from Saluda High School,” said Molly Spearman, South Carolina state superintendent. “I’m a product of these schools. It’s a loving, diverse community that comes around its public schools.”

However, Saluda County public schools have a great need when it comes to renovating and replacing facilities.

“Our students deserve the same opportunities as Lexington 1 and all the districts with a larger tax base,” said Dr. Harvey Livingston, Saluda County School District superintendent.

Identified as part of an independent study as the 6th poorest district in the Palmetto State, Saluda County School District received $38 million Thursday morning from the state Department of Education.

“Today is truly a great day for Saluda County Schools,” Dr. Livingston said.

One of the priorities for that money is replacing the old Saluda High School building which now serves as Saluda Elementary. The district’s goal is to combine Saluda Primary and Elementary in one brand-new facility that replaces the current outdated ones.

“We need to make an investment in the future of our children in Saluda,” said Kathy Coleman, Saluda County School Board Association president.

“I’m just happy we can share some of this in Saluda and provide more opportunities for teachers and students for years to come so that these students can get the training and education they need to compete in a very competitive global workforce,” said Sen. Shane Massey, Republican from Edgefield.

In addition to combining Saluda Primary and Elementary School into one brand-new building, there will also be renovations to nearby Hollywood Elementary School as well as additions to Saluda Middle and High.

“Teachers won’t have to run for buckets if the roof is leaking. The technology will certainly work better,” said Spearman about the proposed new elementary school. “That is the way of the future, having safe, conducive buildings. It will also bring them together and they’ll be more efficient.”

The combining of schools into one new building is something the state superintendent hopes to see not just in Saluda County, but other districts in the state. She says funding for new facilities will also be heading to Lee, Clarendon and Dillon County School Districts. 

“In Lee County, we’re going to be consolidating three very small buildings that are very old,” Spearman said. “At one, the roof has fallen in on half the site.”

While Spearman will be replaced later this year, she hopes her successor will continue to work with state lawmakers to improve school facilities across South Carolina.

“I do think we need to work on making one South Carolina where we don’t have disparities in facilities,” Spearman said. “I’m so grateful that the leadership is working with us on this.”

Categories: Local News