Expecting large enrollment
By David Meade
Anderson School District One Board members heard about preparations being made for the new school year and approved personnel during their meeting Tuesday. Superintendent David Havird outlined top priorities in readying the District’s fourteen schools for the 2015-16 school year. Havird said preparations have been “very positive” and are being made “in a very smooth fashion.”
According to Havird work is being done on two practice fields and in school buildings including maintenance upgrades, new floors and phone systems. Powdersville Middle is getting new tile and carpet in the seventh and eighth grade wings. “We are on track to open this school year in a very positive fashion,” Havird said.
Havird told the board the District is seeing a lot of new students. “It would not surprise me to see 150 to 200 new students. There are a lot of new families moving in.” Havird said the District could have enrollment of 9900 to 10,000 students this year.
The District is preparing for the second year of the A1 Digital Innovation program with new equipment, information, training and professional development. “Our committment to this is very strong. It is a top priority,” Havird said.
A lot of improvements in the District over the next three years will be funded by the recently implementd 1 cent education sales tax.
“The local option sales tax will become a reality this year,” Havird said. The District will focus on safety and security and technology during the first year.
The District plans to spend $400,000 during the fall of this year for safety and security enhancements at all 14 schools in District One. Included will be additional cameras, access doors and communication equipment.
Palmetto and Wren Middle Schools will get roof improvements and the District plans to spend $900,000 on technology hardware, instructional software and new computers for teachers and labs in all 14 schools.
An addition to Concrete Primary is planned in year two and Wren High Athletic Facilities will be expanded the third year.
“We are using the money fairly and equally and spending it wisely to benefit all of our schools,” Havird said.
The first two months collections on the Local Option Sales Tax for Education is at the Anderson County Treasurers Office and will be available to the District around the first of August.
“It should probably start early in the first semester,” Havird said. The funding is expected to be made available on a quarterly basis. Havird said District One should receive $4.5 million to $5 million this year.
Twenty percent will be allocated to debt with the remainder available to spend on improvements in the District.
More details on the proposed projects are on the District One website and were highlighted recently in The Journal.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jane Harrison reported on summer school. A representative of the State Department of Education “Read to Succeed” Program visited recently and had “great things to say” about the reading program, Harrison said.
She said the program has averaged 15 students with seven younger students at Spearman. She said parents will be coming to Spearman this Thursday bringing literacy teachers, parents and students together.
Harrison said teachers are getting ready for the start of classes and are making adjustments for new standards for Kindergarten, First and Second Grades. There are new math and ELA standards she said and students will be learning goals and objectives.
She said the District is continuing to improve technology and, at the request of teachers, will have deployment of IPads at the start of day one.
Wren High School will be the first school to hand out their IPads, she said. Third graders and ninth graders will get new IPads. All other students will be issued the device they used during the first year of the Digital Innovation program.
Harrison said the District had 35 new teachers in the induction class which was held over a three day period.
The District will hold their opening assembly on August 14 at 8:30 a.m. at Wren High School. The Teacher of the Year luncheon will be held at noon.
The following personnel recommendations were approved by the Board:
Candace Cherry, Grade 3, Wren Elementary; Johnika Jamison, Guidance Counselor, West Pelzer Elementary; Lisa Melton, Grade 5, Powdersville Elementary; Julie Robinson, Strings, Wren High.
Leave – Lisa Mathis, Grade 5, Wren Elementary School; Leslie Porter, Grade 2, Concrete Primary.
Resignations – Robin McCurley, Guidance Counselor, West Pelzer Elementary; Mary McConomy, LD Self Contained, Palmetto High.
The board also heard a report on how the adult education program is faring.