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The Orangeburg County Consolidation Transition Committee will hold its first meeting Thursday night in an initial step toward the merging of the county’s three school districts.

The committee will meet at 6 p.m. in the training room on the third floor of the Orangeburg County Administrative Center at 1437 Amelia St.

Lawmakers passed a bill last year consolidating Orangeburg County’s three school districts into one. The transition committee will help guide the consolidation, which is scheduled to occur in July 2019.

“The main goal is to get organized and get focused on key points that we’ll want to establish as the direction we would like the county school district to go,” committee member Henry Jenkins said. Jenkins currently serves as a trustee of Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5.

Jenkins stressed that what the committee will come up with will just be recommendations to be presented to the yet-to-be-elected board of trustees for the new district. Election of board members will take place in November, he said.

Jenkins said the committee members are ready to get to work.

“I believe the spirit of cooperation will be there, and we will work together as a team,” he said. “That is my belief.”

The committee will work for the greater good of the county’s students, Jenkins said.

“We just want to do what’s best for the children of Orangeburg County,” he said.

Several items are on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting:

• Completion of the election of officers and organizational structure

• Review and discussion of the consolidation legislation

• Geographical review of current school district boundaries

• Discussion of future meeting dates and locations

The voting members of the committee include six members appointed by the Orangeburg County Legislative Delegation. The chairmen of the present three districts or their designees and another board member from each of the three districts will also be voting members.

The six delegation appointees are:

• County Administrator Harold Young of Orangeburg

• Chamber of Commerce President Melinda Jackson of Orangeburg

• Santee Mayor Donnie Hilliard

• District 5 Physical Therapist Marie Walling of Orangeburg

• Attorney John Shuler of Orangeburg

• Retired educator Lillie Ann Heyward of Holly Hill

Chair Vernell Goodwin and trustee Betty Pelzer will represent Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 on the committee.

District 4 will be represented by Chair Aaron Rudd and trustee William E. O’Quinn.

District 5’s representatives are Chair Mary Ulmer and trustee Henry Jenkins.

In addition to these 12 voting members of the committee, the three superintendents from the present school districts will serve as nonvoting members.

Serving as the three nonvoting parent representatives are Samantha Farlow-Moyd, an Orangeburg defense attorney; Francine Edwards of Springfield, who works with the concerned citizens; and Sharon M. Wade from Holly Hill.

Contact the writer: chuff@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5543.

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