$15 Million In ESSER Funds Allocated To School Districts Three And Four

DILLON – State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced the allocation of $15 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds to Dillon School District Three and Dillon School District Four to both renovate and replace antiquated existing school facilities with safe, modern facilities to accommodate current and future county enrollment trends.
In April of 2022, the South Carolina Department of Education (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. The independent review of schools in Dillon Four concluded the age and condition of the five elementary schools problematic toward long term educational use without significant modification and renovation. The schools have an average age of 73 years old with the oldest, East Elementary School, approaching one century of use.
“With school facilities approaching 100 years of age, it is long overdue that the state provides financial support for counties like Dillon which cannot afford to build new facilities on its own,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
“With the influx of COVID-19 relief money and 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.”
The facility assessment team recommended consolidating four elementary schools into one new, modern elementary school, to be built on property centralized within the county. Dillon Four has funds on hand that can partially support the funding for the new elementary school while $12 million in ESSER funds from the SCDE will allow for the full build out and ensure students have classrooms and a facility that are safe and conducive to learning in the 21st Century.
“Dillon County’s students and educators deserve safe, modern facilities to learn and teach in every day,” said S.C. Representative Jackie Hayes who represents District 55 in the General Assembly. “I am pleased that the state has chosen to invest in our County and I look forward to the new buildings and renovations that can now come to fruition.”
Dillon Three, which is composed of three schools and has an enrollment of 1475 students, will be allocated $3 million to build additional classroom space at the elementary school and high school as part of the assessment team’s recommendation to retire the 70-year-old middle school which is nearing the end of its life span. Funding will also be used to improve safety infrastructure within the district. Dillon Three will supplement the state supplied ESSER money with its own funding.
In addition to the $15 million in ESSER funding for Dillon County infrastructure projects, the SCDE has or will appropriate an additional $25 million to other school districts for capital improvements from its $211 million set aside from the American Rescue Plan. The agency will also soon be announcing the allocation of $100 million in state funds appropriated under Proviso 1.104 of the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2021-2022.

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