HCS board talks school security and purchase of land behind closed doors


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County School Board held its board work session/special called meeting Monday night.

During a two-hour executive session, board members discussed school security and the proposed selling or purchasing of property.

“We’re talking about school security because when you look at what happened in Florida, we are going to look at what we do in our procedures and see what changes have to be made to accommodate the thought process of what’s going on,” board chairman Joe Defeo said.

Defeo said board members asked for the topic to be discussed, as they wanted an update on security protocol and procedures in all of the schools, and to be able to make recommendations.

“When somebody gives a threat to a school in Horry County, we deal with it and in many cases they get arrested, but that’s the part of discussion too, the handling of the false threats,” Defeo said.

He added he doesn’t think what happened in Parkland, Fla., will ever happen in Horry County because of how law enforcement handles the situations.

“The threats that have come recently are just, in some cases, ridiculous,” Defeo said.

Unfortunately, Defeo said he has seen a huge increase in threats in the county since the mass shooting in Florida on Feb. 14 that claimed 17 lives.

“It’s been students standing up in the middle of class and making a comment. I mean, this is stuff they didn’t do before. Students are being removed, they are being disciplined and police are being called. We realize you cannot leave it completely unpunished; you just cannot do that,” he said.

There was no movement or resolution about school security made when the board returned from executive session.

Another conversation during executive session was the proposed purchasing of properties that may involve North Myrtle Beach, according to Defeo.

In a demographic and enrollment study, facilities committee director Mark Wolfe told the school board the capital improvement five-year plan is still a draft, and his team has made themselves available to board members for one-on-one question and answer.

One topic brought up was the North Myrtle Beach area and the growth, and how the study shows a large increase in student enrollment at the three schools this year. Some board members are hoping for a brand new school to hold 1,200 students..

“The 10 mills number is still the same. If we do pay as you go on it, we got approximately $56.1 million,” chief financial officer John Gardner said. “If the board elected an increase by two additional mills, pay as you go model, it would be $91 million to be used for construction. If the board elected to increase to 14 mills, that would be $126.1 million.”

While still a draft, the capital plan funding will continue to be discussed at the next meeting, Defeo said.

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