FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence One Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley proposed Tuesday evening a recommendation for a first step in moving toward the middle school concept.
O’Malley presented to the board that Carver Elementary, Lucy T. Davis Elementary and Delmae Elementary fourth grade students stay at their schools next school year, making the three schools kindergarten through fifth-grade schools.
“Just given the questions, I felt that there was a lot of things that have to be answered before we can make the steps,” O’Malley said. “That’s why the K-5 is the recommendation before we start this transition.”
No action was taken during the Tuesday evening meeting. The board only discussed the middle school concept and O’Malley’s recommendation.
The called meeting was held after a series of listening sessions were held across the community to gather questions from the community about the middle school concept.
O’Malley said the answers to the questions will not be ready in November, but there will be answers.
“There’s a lot of answers … and those answers need to be given from this board,” O’Malley said.
Board members E.J. McIver and Alexis Pipkins both expressed concern that the answers to the questions should be answered sooner rather than later.
“We can’t just leave any questions out there,” McIver said. “Time passes, and things change. I think we really need to come up with a timeline and let people know when we’re going to answer them.”
Trisha Caulder said the recommendation solely affects the west side of town, but there have not been any listening sessions on that side of town other than one at Briggs Elementary.
“If these changes are to occur there, and there has been to my knowledge no discussion, then I would propose that the western side of town needs to weigh in, too,” Caulder said.
Caulder said the middle school concept has been talked about for nearly seven years, and no progress has been made.
“For me, the recommendation of the superintendent is trying to get this moving forward, and the only thing I can see is on the western side of town is do we have the facilities there that could accommodate this?” Caulder said.
Pipkins said the middle school concept was not intended for just one side of town; it’s for all sides of town.
“We are talking about the middle school concept, but now our focus has shifted to the western side of town,” Pipkins said.