State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman today announced the allocation of $38 million in state funding to Saluda County School District to both renovate and replace antiquated existing school facilities with safe, modern facilities to accommodate current and future county enrollment trends. The funding is part of the $100 million appropriated to the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) under Proviso 1.104 of the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2021-2022.
In April of 2022, the SCDE commissioned independent facility studies of schools in the state’s poorest counties to aid in decision making for capital funding appropriated by the General Assembly for disadvantaged schools. Saluda County School District is composed of five separate schools located in or near the town of Saluda and in the Hollywood community. Saluda Middle and High School, although separate, share a campus and are attached. Current enrollment of the district, Pre-K through 12 is approximately 2,412 students.
The independent review of schools in Saluda County concluded the age and condition of the five schools are problematic toward long term educational use without significant modification and renovation. The schools have an average age of 53 years old.
The facility assessment team recommended a new, modern elementary school, on the existing Saluda Elementary School campus that would consolidate Saluda Elementary and Saluda Primary Schools. Also recommended were additions and renovations to Hollywood Elementary, Saluda Middle and High Schools.
“With school facilities approaching 100 years of age, it is long overdue that the state provides financial support for counties like Saluda which cannot afford to build new facilities on its own,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “With the generous support of the General Assembly, we are pleased to be able to provide the additional funding that these districts need to provide safe, state of the art facilities that students, families, and educators need and deserve.”
“Today marks an extraordinary moment in history for Saluda County residents, especially our students and educators who have needed safer and more desirable facilities to teach and learn in for quite some time,” said S.C. Representative Cal Forrest who represents District 39 in the General Assembly. “I am excited for the state’s investment in our County and look forward to seeing the lasting impact it will have on generations to come.”
“This investment by the State will help us provide the resources that our students and teachers have needed for decades,” said Dr. Kathy Coleman, Chair of the Saluda County School District Board of Trustees. “Superintendent Spearman’s dedication to our rural school districts is unprecedented and she continues to fight for education for all children in South Carolina.”
“We are extremely grateful for the investment made by the State of South Carolina to improve the educational environment for our students, teachers, and community,” said Dr. Harvey Livingston, Superintendent of Saluda County School District. “We commend Superintendent Spearman’s leadership in her continued fight for improvements in public education, especially in rural districts such as ours.”