August 31, 2017
Dr. Vashti Washington convened the meeting.
Dr. Wesley Boykin could not attend meeting so agenda changed from state of the children in SC report to discussion about the future direction of SCORS.
A rural schools organization existed about a decade ago, going dormant until last past year.
Discussion - definition of “rural”
Feds have many definitions, SCORS understands rural as 100 or less people per square mile. The state does not have a definition of rural. There were some discussions a number of years about the Abbeville case and rural, but no description of rural was created.
Discussion about consolidation
• There arek those that are against consolidation. There is no evidence that it works. Where implemented teacher salaries and cost per student increased.
• Other arguments for consolidation based on the small geographical area and number of students in some counties.
• Arguments for high school consolidation include the increase in number of higher level classes offered and arts impact.
Research was presented that showed the number of buildings in a school district, number of teachers among other data. There were some observations that some districts had few buildings and few teachers that might look to consolidate or coordinate services.
• Agree to disagree and continue to learn. This is a political debate and not the direction for SCORS to take.
Discussion about choices/challenges/college
• The more education you have the more choices you have. Many do not realize they have choices.
• One challenge is that brighter students leave for college and do not return.
• Problems are complex. The legislature wants easy answers to difficult problems.
• People often tell the rural kids they don’t need college, yet they are not saying the same thing to students in wealthy areas.
• Parents and community leaders often do not want young people to leave. They hold them back. Example provided; a student was offered $50,000 to go to school and she was convinced that the money was from the devil. Other examples offered.
Discussion about facilities
• Much discussion and agreement about the disparities between the haves and have nots.
• There is a need to shed light on this. It has been discussed in the past, but people seem to have moved on.
• What is a common goal this group should work toward and focus on? Should we attend legislative meetings to speak to rural legislators? Focus with state department and distribution of funds? Or should we be looking at facilities? We have spoken about social structures.
#1 Focus on facilities and equality of resources across the state
• One suggestion is to focus on school facilities and the need.
• Follow up with documentary of corridor of shame to update what is going on with the school facilities.
• Keep the focus on shame and hope, shining a light on facilities.
• Research arm of SCORS has the information we could create a new video.
• Would the people in the wealthy districts feel compassion if they understood the reality?
• The rural districts have to have influence.
• The group needs short term and long term goals.
• You have to start building this. Goals with short term to build success.
• Begin by developing a marketing plan. A video showing the two faces of SC. Attempt to get Bud Ferillo engaged.
#2 launch a lobbying effort.
• Go to schools churches and nonprofits and the need for school buses and engage them to contact their.
• Education to teach how to reach out and to whom to reach out to.
• Focus with retired superintendents/educators.
• Meet with legislators
Meeting with Bud Ferillo to happen before next SCORS meeting.
Date of meeting has not been selected yet. It will be within the first two weeks of October.