School District One has smooth opening

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By David Meade

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a brief report on the opening of school, approved course offerings for the new school year and approved a construction bid for a classroom addition at Concrete Primary School. The Board also received a building plan update and heard a preliminary plan for upgrades at two of the district’s oldest schools, Palmetto and Wren Middle.

District Finance Manager Travis Thomas reported that Anderson County collected just under $2 million in May from the local option sales tax and that the District One portion amounted to $608,000. $487,000 will go toward capital improvements in the district, while $121,000 goes to property tax relief, Thomas said.

District One currently has approximately $4.5 million in their fund balance, according to Thomas. Thomas reported that state EFA revenues and others are coming in and presently they are at eleven percent of the budget for collections and about nine percent for expenses.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jane Harrison reported the district had a “very good opening of school due to their outsanding employees.”

She reported on a $17,000 Michelin grant that Powdersville Elementary received to be used for studying honey bees and gardening, a slight decline on ACT scores due to everybody taking the tests, classroom work related to profiles of a graduate, a new 10 point grading scale and the district’s Digital Innovation project.

Robbie Binnicker reported the student nutrition program served 1,196,000 meals during the 2015-16 school year, which was 5000 more than the year before. Those numbers did not include 15,000 additional meals served as part of the summer meal program.

Binnicker said the program had a profit of $43,000 after $206,000 in indirect costs and $152,000 in fringe beneifits were paid out. He said $358,000 went back into the general fund for the meal program.

Superintendent David Havird reported the opening of school went very well due to the leadership of teachers, staff, assistant principals, prinicipals and district employees.

“We hired some excellent new teachers who are very confident and very caring,,” he said. “Due to the organization and preparation of staff, it opened in a very efficient manner.”

“We are off to a very smooth start,” he said.

Havird said school opened with 9,963 students, up 43 from last year. He said that District One growth has gone from about 1.5 percent for the last several years to 2.5 percent.

If the growth rate continues, the district will need one new elementary school every three years, Havird said.

Already this year the district added one new teacher at Hunt Meadows and one new teacher at Powdersville Middle.

He said the district may need an additional teacher to help with ESL.

Havird said the growth rate is back to where it was prior to the recession in 2008 and 2009. “They are building houses all over the district, especially in the Powdersville and Wren area,’ he said.

All of the district elementary schools are at 600 students. Concrete Primary has 727.

In action items, the Board unanimously approved the course offering catalog.

They also unanimously approved a $2,218,440 construction bid for an eight classroom addition at Concrete Primary.

Havird said the district is “staying ahead” with this eight room addition and would be using portables at the school if they had not added on. Two of the classrooms are double rooms which can be divided. There are two new rooms inside and eight being added with construction, Havird said.

The Board also received a building plan update including work on tennis courts, Wren athletic facilities the and multi purpose facility at Palmetto. (See separate story)