Allendale County suing to stop state takeover of school district

Allendale County (Google Earth)

South Carolina's lowest-performing school district is arguing the state unconstitutionally took over its schools.

The Allendale County school board filed a lawsuit Wednesday against state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman and legislative leaders. The lawsuit comes two days after Spearman declared a state of emergency to seize control from the locally elected school board.

Since 1998, state law has allowed the agency to take over persistently failing schools or districts.

A clause in recent state budgets lets Spearman make the decision directly.

Allendale County argues that's unconstitutional. The board has asked the state Supreme Court to immediately return control while the case is pending.

Spearman says South Carolina has a constitutional and moral responsibility to educate students, and she was given the authority to address "cases of gross mismanagement."

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