ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – South Carolina State Superintendent, Molly Spearman, is speaking out about Allendale County school performance and the financial jeopardy it could have on the state.
Nearly 50 percent of students are failing in core areas including English, Math, Science and Social Studies.
Allendale County is one of the lowest performing school districts in South Carolina.
Which is why the State Superintendent decided to make a trip down to the district and work with school leaders to get them back on track.
However, Spearman says that never happened because she was turned away from speaking at a Board of Education meeting.
“Although there’s a lot of finger-pointing, I don’t think anyone in Allendale is happy if anything is failing.” Nazarene Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Terrance Thomas said.
Low test scores and risky financial behaviors have cast a spotlight on Allendale County schools.
Exchanges between the South Carolina state Superintendent and the B.O.E., reveal Spearman was invited to the B.O.E meeting Monday.
However, days before in an email Chairwoman Patricia Jenkins told Spearman the agenda was set and Spearman was left-off the list.
“Why do you feel that they denied your request to give this very important presentation?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.
“Well I’m not sure,” Spearman told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “I think there’s some discrepancy in this discussion around their high school accreditation.”
Allendale High is under Monitored Probation.
Still, Spearman says in April she assured the Board she would not recommend that the school lose its accreditation, because they were working to get most issues solved.
“There were things like reports not getting in on time, or maybe an uncertified teacher that they have tried really hard to recruit, and just were unable to. So we had mercy on that,” Spearman said.
Still, the biggest concerns for the Department of Education are the historically low performances on standardized test and unethical practices of the B.O.E.
Spearman says the school system is engaging in risky activity with vendors and is not complying with federal programs, which could negatively impact the state.
“Any federal money that comes into a state now, previously it would only affect that one District if there was misspending or not complying with the regulations, but now State Superintendents have to realize that one district not handling their federal programs properly jeopardizes the entire state.” Spearman told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
WJBF NewsChannel 6 reached out to the Allendale County Superintendent for comment, he denied our request, but did provide us with a statement.
According to the states data, 80 percent of Allendale County students are graduating from high school.
Spearman says she doesn’t understand how that’s possible, when the data also shows that 50 percent of student are failing to meet state standards.
The State Superintendent plans to a community meeting in Allendale County, once a date has been set we will let you know.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.