Despite veto, lawmaker confident Orangeburg consolidation will happen

Despite veto, lawmaker confident Orangeburg consolidation will happen

NEESES, SC (WIS) - At Gibson's Food Station in Norway, diners like David Dannelly have plenty of opinions.

So WIS asked him for his thoughts on a controversial plan to combine Orangeburg County's three school districts into one.

"Considering I've just come out of high school roughly five years ago, I don't think it's a good idea. You need to keep the school system small," said Dannelly.

The Edisto High School grad doesn't think consolidation will benefit his Alma mater or his school district, District 4, in any way.

In fact, he fears the schools close to him could eventually close.

"If they do pass it, then they really need to consider the idea of having a game plan set for the schools, and they need to run it by everybody in Orangeburg County to make sure they're okay with that. I mean, they don't need to go through the office and say, 'Hey! This is what we think's better.' Because half the time they're just blowing smoke up their own behinds," he said.

The bill to consolidate has already passed the State House. But now, it's dealing with a veto. Governor Henry McMaster vetoed the bill he called "unconstitutional."

However, lawmakers in Orangeburg believe they have the votes to override that veto. Monday, Sen. John Matthew (D-Orangeburg) seemed confident the veto will be overridden.

Meanwhile, another diner, Al Dannelly, said if and when that happens it won't be the will of his community.

"Not around here I don't think so. You know, if he vetoed it, I hope it stays like that and they don't override it," he said.

Across the dining room, Anthony Jones had different thoughts.

"My thoughts is that it's a good idea," Jones said.

Jones thinks consolidation will save money and resources across the county.

"I think the schools around here will still be a part of the equation," he said.

Despite the fears of school closures, supporters of the bill point out the rigorous requirements that would have to be met to close a school under a consolidated district's government.

For now, with the governor's veto still in place, the consolidation bill's future is still uncertain.

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