UNION COUNTY — A group of former high school students could soon get their high school diplomas after the Union County Board of School Trustees voted to ask the state to award them.
In April, Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law Act 155 eliminating passage of the exit exam as a requirement for high school graduation beginning with the Class of 2015. Passage of either BSAP exit exam or HSAP exit exam had been a requirement for graduation since 1990. Act 155, however, not only eliminated the exit exam beginning with the Class of 2015, but also made it retroactive to all previous classes dating back to the Class of 1990.
The retroactive portion of the law means that anyone who is no longer a student in the public schools and previously failed to receive their high school diploma or were prevented from graduating solely for failing to pass the exit exam could now petition their local school board to determine their eligibility to receive their diploma. A former student is eligible to petition their local school board for this assistance if they met all other graduation requirements except for passing the exit exam while they were in school.
Some former Union County high school students apparently met that criteria and the Union County Board of School Trustees responded by voting Monday to recommend they get their diplomas.
Union County School District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall said Tuesday that the board voted to ask the State Department of Education to grant diplomas to 17 people the district had determined met the criteria set by Act 155.
“Those 17 petitioners had everything needed for the board to make the request,” Woodall said.
Woodall said that anyone else who would have graduated from a high school in Union County under the provisions of Act 155 can obtain their petitions at the school district website (www.union.k12.sc.us) or at the Union County School District Office, 130 West Main St., Union.
All eligible candidates’ names must be verified and submitted by the local school board. The South Carolina Department of Education will not accept requests directly from a diploma candidate. For additional information, please contact Union County Director of Secondary Education Cindy Langley at Union County Schools (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While the law eliminates the exit exam beginning with the Class of 2015, students in the Class of 2014 who are denied graduation solely for failing to pass the exit exam may also petition the school board for their diploma once they are no longer enrolled in the public school system as outlined in Act 155.
All former students seeking their diplomas must submit their petitions to the school board by Dec. 31, 2015.
In other business, the board voted to approve the personnel report with the following persons hired for the following positions:
• Laura Wade — 5K Assistant/Bus Driver Foster Park Elementary
• Amber Comer — Assistant Principal Union County High School
• Diane Spencer — Part Time Title 1 Parenting/Story Time Assistant Carlisle Town Hall
• Cathy Allen — Part Time Title 1 Parenting/Story Time Assistant, Buffalo Elementary School
• Gerald Wood — Math Teacher, Sims Middle School
• Steve Walton — General Maintenance, Maintenance Department
• Stacy Garner McAbee — Assistant Principal, Sims Middle School
• Lacy Taylor — School Nurse Sims, Middle School
• Booker Peake — 6th Grade Teacher, Sims Middle School
• Olivia Smith — 0.5 Special Education Teacher, Jonesville Elementary Middle School
• Ramona Lindsay — 0.5 Special Education Teacher, Jonesville Elementary Middle
• Donna Sweezy — Elementary Teacher, Buffalo Elementary School
• Cameron Willis — 0.5 PE Teacher, Union County High School
• Bobbie Wallace — Elementary Teacher, Monarch Elementary