COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced that $52 million in state funding is headed to Hampton County to address the district's most critical needs: the renovation and replacement of antiquated facilities.
Funding will go first to the replacement of Wade Hampton High School, Hampton County School District's only high school. The South Carolina Department of Education identified the replacement of the high school building as a priority.
Hampton County, along with Bamberg, Beaufort, Calhoun, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Jasper, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Sumter, and Williamsburg counties made up South Carolina's
"Corridor of Shame" -- 17 rural counties that have a history of inadequate funding for education and lower levels of student achievement.
In 1993, rural school districts across the state joined and filed suit as Abbeville County vs The State of South Carolina, claiming the state failed to provide "a minimally adequate education" for its students. In 2003, the South Carolina State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case.
The $52 million to Hampton County is part of $140 million made available in Proviso 1.92 of the General Appropriations Bill for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
“Our students and educators deserve safe, state-of-the-art facilities to learn and grow in each day. Next year, the district will combine Estill High School and Wade Hampton High School into the consolidated Hampton County High School," Dr. Ron Wilcox, superintendent of the Hampton County School District, said. "We cannot wait for the building process to begin as we anticipate with excitement opening the doors of the new high school for all of our students in Hampton County.”
In addition to the funding for Hampton County, SCDE has also made the following funding announcements:
- $38 million in infrastructure funding for Abbeville County School District including renovations to Abbeville and Dixie high schools
- $38 million in infrastructure funding and $3 million in consolidation funds for Clarendon County Schools. The money would go in part to replace Walker-Gamble and Manning Elementary schools, Manning Primary and close Summerton Early Childhood, and move students to Dr. Rose Wilder Elementary
- $38 million in infrastructure funding for Lee County School District to build a new elementary school to replace Dennis, Lower Lee, and West Lee Elementary schools, all of which are over 50 years old
- $38 million in infrastructure funding for Saluda County School District. The five schools in the district have an average age of 53 years. Funds would build a new elementary school to consolidate and replace Saluda Elementary and Saluda Primary schools and for renovations and additions to Hollywood Elementary, Saluda Middle, and High schools
- $15 million in infrastructure funding for Dillon County Schools for a new elementary school and consolidation of existing four elementary schools to the new building in Dillon Four -- where the average age of school buildings is 73 years, and East Elementary approaching 100 -- and to add space to elementary and high schools and retire a 70-year-old middle school in Dillon Three.
State funding has been enhanced by money made available through the American Rescue Plan.