District One begins security upgrades, looking at school calendar

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By David Meade

Anderson School District One is beginning to make upgrades for safety and security and in other areas using the One Cent Sales Tax which was approved by voters for Anderson County schools.

District One Finance Director Travis Thomas reported the District has $1,947,000 available in the Local Option Sales Tax Fund Balance. The District received $513,000 in October as their portion of the almost $1.7 million in one cent sales tax collected by the county in September.

During his finance report, Thomas said that the District had $6,000 in expenses paid from the fund and that there will be more next month as District One begins spending the funds on projects and upgrades.

District One recently contributed $75,000 for new welding equipment at the Career and Technology Center and approximately $5000 to the Anderson County Alernative School, Thomas said.

The District recently approved a bid for safety and security improvements and will begins updating print materials in media centers and improving libraries, according to Thomas.

Superintendent David Havird said the District will have significent expenditures from the fund in Nov. and Dec. as the district begins to make updates for safety and security and fine arts programs.

Havird updated the board on building plans for 2016-17 which will include an addition at Concrete Primary School, tennis courts at Wren and Powdersville High and a multi-purpose athletic facility at Palmetto High.

Havird also told the Board that the state legislature has changed their policy on inclement weather to allow local school districts more control.

Havird said the school calendar must have three makeup days in the calendar which will be Mar. 25, June 6 and June 7.

If the district schools miss four to six days, it will be up to the superintendent and the local board to decide if the days should be made up.

If more than six days are missed, the SC State Department of Education will make the decision on makeup days.

Havird said if four to six must be made up, there will be an option to extend the school day an hour or two or attend on Saturdays.

“I think this is great. We can make our own decisions in the best interest of our students.”

Havird said the new policy will be on district website. “We will try to keep schools open,” he said. Decisions to close school are very, very difficult.”

District One Assistant Superintendent of Adminstration, Robbie Binnicker is chairing the County School Calendar Committee and will be working with the other four Anderson County School Districts on the calendar. Pickens and Oconee school districts may also get involved, Havird said.

Havird also said there is the possibility of having some flexibility on when to start school and that there could be an early start date.

Havird said his goal is to get the instruction time in and close school by the end of May.

Assistant Superintendent of Education Jane Harrison reported District One Eleventh graders performed well on the ACT career assessment testing.

Five District One students received Platinum Certificates and were recognized during the board meeting. Recognized were: Aleen Dupuy, Wren High; Boyce Roulette Palmetto High; Jacob Roach, Wren High; and Jacob Waldrep, Powdersville High and Anna Hood, Powdersville High (not present).

Harrison said the District’s composite overall score was 19 and that all students in the district in grades 3-8 beat state and national averages on most every subject.

Jackie Journell, teacher at Wren High was awarded the State Technology Award by the SC Association for Education Technology for her “Walk Across America” program.

Harrison reported that District One bands were fantastic and have grown. The Powdersville Marching Band will compete for the state championship this Saturday, she said.

The Palmetto High Drama Department will present their first production under new director Will Ragland, with a one act play next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Harrison also reported that Duke Energy is partnering on a 4th grade STEM project in the district.

District One will host a Technology Institute on Nov. 10 in which teachers and administrators from other school districts will learn about the District One I technology rollout program and observe it in classrooms.

The Board approved the following personnel:

Request for Leave – Angelia Armstrong, Sixth Grade, Powdersville Middle; Leah Woodcock, Second Grade, West Pelzer Elementary; Megan Selman, English, Wren High; Hannah Sharbo, SC EMD, Hunt Meadows.

Retirement – Rhetta Dalton, English, Wren High.