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Florence School District 1 officials ask for desegregation relief

(WPDE) Florence School District 1 is officially asking the government to close the book on its 48 year desegregation saga.

Florence School District 1 is officially asking the government to close the book on its 48 year desegregation saga.

Board members voted Thursday night to ask the United States Department of Justice to lift the district's consent order that was put in place in 1970.

The order required schools to desegregate, at a time when 100% of the district's schools were either all white or all black.

"It's been a dark cloud that's been over the district for quite some time," District Chairman Barry Townsend described.

District leaders say today, only six of the 20 schools are more than 60% African American, and all are in areas where African Americans are the majority.

Some people say they're worried that rescinding the order will make things worse.

"We don't want to go back and start doing some of the things we were doing before," one man said to board members.

Lifeline's Elder James Williams said he was worried about a lack of transparency.

"I'm aware of some things that are going on right now that actually happened to get us under the consent order to begin with," he warned.

The lone board member to dissent, Alexis Pipkins, said the district should be measured in progress, not in years that have passed.

"The reporting we've been doing, we've been doing for four decades and they have never once come back and said that we need to change something," Townsend reassured.

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