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Opinion: Many Rural Schools Have Been ‘Minimally Adequate’ For Too Long

I remember as a young reporter for The State newspaper in South Carolina’s capital, Columbia, driving with a colleague in 1999 to the old Bishopville High School in rural Lee County.

The school was still in operation, despite having been condemned. (Its main lobby ceiling had collapsed in an incident that could have killed someone.) Some of the classroom windows were missing panes of glass, open to the wind.

I returned to the car after the visit, profoundly startled by this and other evidence of chronic neglect. My colleague literally wept.

As South Carolina lawmakers and Gov. Henry McMaster begin to consider the first real overhaul of the state’s school-funding system in decades, some rural schools continue to lag behind those in more populous and affluent areas of the state. South Carolina’s debate will be important to monitor as other states ponder similar school-funding changes to provide greater equity for rural and under-resourced schools.