Dillon County to merge two school districts

Lake View, a small town in Dillon County, faces a big problem. School district administrators there feared the worst - that serious financial problems could lead the Dillon County Board of Education to close the doors to schools in Lake View.

H owever, they learned Wednesday that their schools will stay open.

F or many, the schools in Lake View are the heart of the community. Lake View is the home of the Fighting Gators. There's even a huge marquee in the center of town announcing school events.

"If something happens to the schools in Lake View then the community as a whole will start to dry up," said Lake View resident Leslie King.

T he Lake View school district faced a tough decision with federal stimulus funds running out and state budget cuts looming.

"About $600,000 between the federal stimulus money and a couple of other things small things that we knew would lose. How much the state cuts are going to affect us we don't have any idea," said School District 1 Superintendent Stephen Laird.

Board members didn't want to sit around waiting to find out so they passed a resolution asking the Dillon County Board of Education for help. They asked if they could merge their administrative services with those in Dillon School District 2.

W ednesday morning the county board said "yes."

"We're not going to as a county board as a as a county let Lake View suffer if there's any way we can help those kids teachers maintain their schools," said Ray Rogers, Superintendent of Dillon District 2.

T he specifics of the merger haven't been finalized but officials expect to cut some jobs.

"I will not be superintendent there next year," said Laird, "beyond that I don't know because those decisions have not been made."

"We're gonna try to save all the jobs that we possibly can whatever area that there in but in reality you won't be able to save them all," admitted Rogers.

T hey did save the Lake View schools and that's what matters most to many people in the small town.

"I commend them very highly," said resident Leslie King. "I think we all should keep the community in mind and that's what they did."

A community , he says , that takes pride in its schools .