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      Group protests standard of education in Timmonsville school district

      A group of parents, students and concerned citizens started protesting outside of the Timmonsville Educational Center on Hill Street around 7:00 a.m. Thursday.

      They say they want school board members to begin taking measures to consolidate with Florence School District One. Timmonsville's school district is also known asFlorence School District Four.

      The protests come after the Timmonsville school board cut 19 jobs last week because the district is $700,000 in debt.

      In the last two years, the district has cut 44 positions, including teachers and principals.

      Parents say they're concerned their kids are at risk of not getting a quality education because of the district's financial problems.

      The protest broke up as school was beginning, but the protestors told us they planned to return to the Timmonsville Education Center to continue protesting at 2:00 p.m. Thursday.

      The Timmonsville Interim Police Chief Henry Gibson says the protestors will not be allowed back onto the school grounds because they do not have a permit. Gibson says a town ordinance requires a permit for any group that is demonstrating or protesting in the Timmonsville city limits.

      Dr. Bertha McCants, Timmonsville's school superintendent, says she is sympathetic to the concerns of the protestors. She says earlier this week, the district's school board sent a resolution to the Florence County Legislative Delegation asking them to consider consolidating Florence District Four with Florence District One.

      She says she's waiting to hear from delegates about the resolution.

      If the general assembly doesn't approve the consolidation, the Timmonsville School Board can do so under specific guidelines. It has to have written approval by a state senator, a petition signed by a majority of the Timmonsville school board and at least one third of voters of each of the school districts involved in the consolidation.