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TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WPDE) — Florence School District Four's Board of Trustees met for the third time this year on Tuesday. They presented a number of questions as they work to save Timmonsville High School and stop the consolidation with Florence One Schools that is scheduled for July 2022.Some of those questions include who is the acting superintendent of the district? Board member, Mysty Hopkins, showed community members her son's diploma and another similar document with two people named as the superintendent."We ...
TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WPDE) — Florence School District Four's Board of Trustees met for the third time this year on Tuesday. They presented a number of questions as they work to save Timmonsville High School and stop the consolidation with Florence One Schools that is scheduled for July 2022.
Some of those questions include who is the acting superintendent of the district? Board member, Mysty Hopkins, showed community members her son's diploma and another similar document with two people named as the superintendent.
"We need to know who is the superintendent of our district," said Florence School District Four Board Member, Mysty Hopkins.
Why isn't there a virtual option for parents who are concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases? The district has so far reported 68 students and two staff members were in quarantine as of Tuesday. One parent of a quarantined student was at the meeting and called for there to be a virtual option.
"I am asking this board if there is any way my child can go virtual," said one Florence School District Four parent.
"Our students deserve to be safe like other students. If Superintendent Spearman truly cares about the health of our students, she should have immediately developed a virtual option," said Hopkins.
Also, what happened to the transition committee that State Superintendent Spearman put in place after she announced the district will be consolidating?
ABC15 reached out to the South Carolina Department of Education to get some of these answers. The department's spokesperson, Ryan Brown, sent the following statement regarding the acting superintendent:
The district administrator is Mrs. Teresa gamble. The superintendent of record is Dr. David Mathis. Dr. Mathis is one of our deputy superintendents and is not paid with district funds. Dr. Strickland is not employed by the district or our agency.
The board has also been working to fill its three other empty seats after the South Carolina Dept. of Education stopped Florence school district four's election that was supposed to happen in November 2020.
They filed a request to the Governor's office to step in and hold a special election to fill those remaining seats.
The board also filed complaints to the United States Dept. of Justice and the Dept. of Education's Civil Rights office.
Dr. Gary Burgess, the spokesperson for the board, said even though the board holds not power, it's not going down without a fight.
"Now they realize they do have power. They have power, it may not be official but it's the cachet of being able to say we matter," said Burgess.
The board moved to obtain an attorney and pursue legal action.
Brown went on to suggest free virtual learning options through the VirtualSC that parents can enroll their child in. Registration opens up on Aug. 18 and serves students in 7th through 12th grade. He also listed a number of free virtual charter options if parents choose to take that route.
He said that Florence School District Four currently does not have enough students or enough teachers to create its own virtual program.
Timmonsville town leaders also announced that they are going to pay up to $5,000 in board expenses.
FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman defended her plan to consolidate Florence Four Schools (also known as Timmonsville) with Florence One Schools at a community meeting on Thursday n...
FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman defended her plan to consolidate Florence Four Schools (also known as Timmonsville) with Florence One Schools at a community meeting on Thursday night.
Spearman provided a presentation showing the previous financial and academic status of the Timmonsville schools to justify the merger. Spearman also said the Florence Four district is too small to continue operating.
She said once the consolidation goes through in June Florence One would get money to cover the costs of taking in Florence Four students.
The state superintendent answered questions from the community, but many said she did not specifically answer the questions they wanted answered.
A group of frustrated community members walked out of the meeting mid way through.
State Representative Terry Alexander addressed concerns about the consolidation, he said the district has been down this road multiple times.
"The people of Timmonsville have been down this road before. This is not the first time we have talked about consolidation, this is not the first time they've run out of money. And I feel for the community. I feel for the community, every three to four years we do this. Every three to four years that I can remember, we're at this point," said Rep. Alexander. "They say okay give us some more money, we give them a little bit of money for a little while and then we run out. The state come back in and three or four years later, give us some more money. You know what I mean? There's no continuity there, it's not good for the kids."
Spearman reiterated that Johnson Middle School and Timmonsville High School will close when the consolidation happens. She said there are no plans to sell the buildings, but she said there is a chance in the future that students could be back in those facilities if Florence continues on its current growth path.
Middle and high school students have been given the option on where they want to attend school next year in the Florence One district. Spearman said plans and school bus routes are being planned.
Officials said Brockington Elementary will be converted to a magnet school for the arts and will feed into Florence One middle and high schools.
The South Carolina Department of Education declared a state of emergency for the Florence Four School District in 2018, at the time the district faced a $100,000 deficit.
In February the Florence Four School Board filed a lawsuit against the state to stop the consolidation.
The merger is scheduled to go into effect June 30, 2022.
FLORENCE, S.C. – More than 14% of South Carolina’s nearly 3.4 million registered voters already have cast their ballots for the 2022 general election.Approximately 500,000 South Carolina registered voters went to the poll during the state’s 12-day early voting period, which ended Saturday. More than 50,000 registered voters had turned in their absentee ballots.The South Carolina General Assembly created the 12-day early voting window earlier this year. Gov. Henry McMaster signed the early-voting legislation in...
FLORENCE, S.C. – More than 14% of South Carolina’s nearly 3.4 million registered voters already have cast their ballots for the 2022 general election.
Approximately 500,000 South Carolina registered voters went to the poll during the state’s 12-day early voting period, which ended Saturday. More than 50,000 registered voters had turned in their absentee ballots.
The South Carolina General Assembly created the 12-day early voting window earlier this year. Gov. Henry McMaster signed the early-voting legislation into law in May. Early voting was used in the June primaries. November 8 is the first time early voting has been used in a general election.
Tuesday polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the rest of the state’s registered voters to vote in the mid-term general election. Federal, state, county, municipal and school board races will be in the ballot.
City of Florence voters also will be deciding whether retailers will be able to sell beer and wine on Sundays.
Two questions on the ballot would amend the state constitution to require legislators to increase the amount of money put in the state’s rainy-day fund from 5% of the state’s annual revenues to $7%. The second question requires legislators to increase the amount of money put into the capital expense reserves fund. The amount would be changed from 2% of the state’s annual revenues to 3%.
Florence County’s registered voters took advantage of the early voting period. Florence County had established early voting sites in Florence, Lake City, Timmonsville and Johnsonville, Florence County Voter Registration and Election Board Director Julian Young said.
“We have had record numbers on early voting,” Young said. “We have been having over a thousand voters a day it seems like all the way through this period. … We are pleased with the turnout.”
Florence County has 82,912 registered voters, according to the latest numbers available from the South Carolina Election Commission’s website – scvotes.gov. There are 63 voting precincts in the county.
The Florence County Voter Registration and Election Board is prepared for election day on Tuesday, he said.
Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Young said. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
“All precincts will be open. Check your voter registration card; your precinct number will be on there. It will show you where to vote, too.”
Registered voters also can check their registration, review a sample ballot and find their polling place at scvotes.gov.
Registered voters will need to take a photo ID to cast their ballot.
Accepted photo IDs are a South Carolina driver’s license, South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card, South Carolina Voter Registration Card with photo, federal military ID and a United States passport.
“At each one of our polls, we have a full staff. They are fully equipped with their certification. They will be working to make sure everything is safe, secure and impartial. We have the voting machines ready to go,” Young said.
Young encouraged registered voters who didn’t vote early to go to the polls on Tuesday.
“We want you to come vote. We are excited that people are turning out so well,” he said.
TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) — A Timmonsville-based trucking company has been forced to pay 11 workers more than $51,000 after they were denied overtime pay, according to the U.S. Labor Department.Investigators with the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division said the employees of Ard Trucking Co., Inc. were paid “straight-time rates for all hours worked, including overtime hours.” One of the employees, who no longer works for the company, got more than $15,000.Failure to pay the time-and-a-half rate for ...
TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) — A Timmonsville-based trucking company has been forced to pay 11 workers more than $51,000 after they were denied overtime pay, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Investigators with the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division said the employees of Ard Trucking Co., Inc. were paid “straight-time rates for all hours worked, including overtime hours.” One of the employees, who no longer works for the company, got more than $15,000.
Failure to pay the time-and-a-half rate for the overtime hours is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Labor Department said.
The Labor Department said the trucking also required one employee to pay for uniforms when they resigned from the company causing the worker’s average hourly pay rate to drop below the federal minimum wage. The company also failed to keep a record of work hours for some employees, which is considered an FLSA recordkeeping violation.
“Not paying workers their full and legally earned wages is unethical and illegal,” said Jamie Benefiel, the Columbia district director of the Wage and Hour Division. “Employers must follow these standards and make sure their employees take home every cent they’ve earned. An employer’s failure to comply with the law can have costly consequences.”
In a news release, Angela Murphy, a former compliance and safety specialist at ARD Trucking, said she filed a complaint with the Labor Department after working more than 40 hours a week without overtime pay.
“My husband had been diagnosed with cancer and our medical expenses increased significantly,” she said. “As his illness worsened, I was working on-call after my regular shift and on weekends without additional pay,”
Frustrated, she said she began to consider her options.
“I read the Department of Labor’s poster at work and then went to the Wage and Hour Division’s website to file a complaint,” Murphy said. “The complaint process was easy and the investigator was amazing. He did a thorough and efficient job investigating the company. Most importantly, he took me seriously and kept his word by doing what he said he would do.”
Murphy said she had no regrets about taking action.
“My voice was heard and the company agreed to pay what my coworkers and I were due,” she said. “The money I received helped my family in many ways because my husband is still battling cancer. To say I am grateful is an understatement. I’m very thankful for the Department of Labor, especially the investigator who handled my case.”
She also encouraged others to do the same if they think they’re being treated unfairly.
“The Department of Labor truly is there to help workers,” she said. “They’ll put your needs first.”
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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in West Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.
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FLORENCE, S.C. – Already in one of hall of fame, Perry Stokes is set to be inducted into another.The longtime Timmonsville High and current East Clarendon High coach was announced as one of the five members for the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association’s class of 2023.Stokes will join Lynn Hicks (Wren), Eddie Hughes (Riverside), George Moss (J.L. Mann) and former Lake City coach Willie Lee Thomas (Holly Hill, Bowman, Lake City, Swansea, Lower Richland, Orangeburg-Wilkinson) at the awards dinner scheduled to be...
FLORENCE, S.C. – Already in one of hall of fame, Perry Stokes is set to be inducted into another.
The longtime Timmonsville High and current East Clarendon High coach was announced as one of the five members for the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association’s class of 2023.
Stokes will join Lynn Hicks (Wren), Eddie Hughes (Riverside), George Moss (J.L. Mann) and former Lake City coach Willie Lee Thomas (Holly Hill, Bowman, Lake City, Swansea, Lower Richland, Orangeburg-Wilkinson) at the awards dinner scheduled to be held July 23 at the Greenville Convention Center in conjunction with the annual SCACA all-sports clinic.
Stokes is already a member of the S.C. Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and this new honor adds to a legacy that spans four decades.
“It’s a great feeling,” Stokes said. “I’ve had a long career and to be rewarded with that particular hall of fame is quite an honor… Some of the names in that hall of fame are legends and so to be listed with them is quite a good feeling.”
Stokes’ resume would stack up with nearly anyone though. As a girls’ basketball coach at Timmonsville, Johnsonville and East Clarendon, he holds an all-time record of 730-267 with a pair of state championships in 2002 and ‘12. He also led the Whirlwinds to state runner-up finishes in 2003, ’16 and ’18.
“Longevity’s a big part of it, but if you go back and look at the record, the consistency of the teams I’ve coached being able to win is probably what I’m most proud of,” Stokes said. “There weren’t too many lean years, but that goes to say you have to have some great players to win.
“But even the players that weren’t so great were able to buy in and were able to win a lot of ball games, mainly over the last 20 years.”
While basketball is what he is known for, Stokes was also coach of the Timmonsville baseball team which had sustained success as well.
The Whirlwinds went 421-215 under Stokes and earned state championships in 1990 and ’93 – part of a five-run run that saw Timmonsville play for the state title each season.
“I’d hate for that run to be forgotten,” Stokes said. “We won a lot of ballgames during that time and I think that may have been a big factor as well in being able to get this honor.”
He was also defensive coordinator on the football team as well under fellow hall of fame coach Bill Tate. Timmonsville went 293-108 during that span with state championships in 1992 and ’99.
“I coached with (Tate) for so many years, and to be along with him in that particular group is a great feeling,” Stokes said.
Thomas served as Lake City’s boys’ basketball coach and athletic director during his time with the Panthers. He arrived in 2003 and led LCHS to its first region title in 24 years the following season.
In 2009-10, he guided the Panthers to the 3A lower state championship before falling to Daniel in the state title game.