District One Board hears building update, audit report

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By David Meade

During their November meeting Tuesday, Anderson School District One Trustees recently re-elected to serve on the Board were administerd the oath of office and then heard an update on the building program, approved a bid for tennis courts at Powdersville and heard the annual audit report.

Board members Brenda Ellison (Area Six), David “Moochie” Merritt (Area Three) and Mike Wilson (Area Two) were administered the oath of office. Nancy Upton was elected Board Chair, Dr. Doug Atkins was elected Vice-Chair, David Merritt was elected Secretary. Mike Wilson was elected to serve on the Alternative School Board. Upton and Adkins were re-elected to serve on the Anderson District’s One and Two Career and Technology Center Board.

Board member Fred Alexander, who was elected to the board in 1990 and has served as Chairman for 26 years, was not able to be at the meeting due to his health. Superintendent David Havird said Alexander was committed to the students of Anderson District One and always made congratulating seniors at graduation a priority. Even though his health is declining, Alexander stood and shook hands of all the Districts graduates during the last ceremony, Havird said.

During his financial report, District Finance Director Travis Thomas reported that District One received $394,000 from the Local Option Sales Tax for the month of July. $79,000 of that went toward debt relief, while $315,000 is directed toward capital improvements.

Director of Education Jane Harrison reported Wren High School was recently named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award winner. The school also led the district with a graduation rate of 97.3 percent.

Harrison mentioned that Palmetto High School had three State Championships this year with Palmetto Cheer, Girls Cross Country and Swimmer Tal Davis. Davis is a five time state champion.

Wren also has a 4A State Champion swimmer, Kate Beckish who won the state title in the 100 freestyle.

Powdersville High has two State Championships with the Powdersville High Band and the boys Cross Country team both winning titles this year.

Harrison presented a new Anderson District One logo which will begin to be used soon.

Nn his nutrition report, Associate Superintendent Robbie Binnicker reported that the Food Services program had revenue of $56,000 for the month of October compared to $26,000 last year. He also reported that year to date the program showed a $14,000 profit compated to being $91,000 in the red this time last year.

District One is purchasing $8,853 in fruit from the three band programs, Binnicker said.

Superintendent David Havird updated board members on the building program. Havird said the slab for the Concrete Primary Addition will be poured on Dec. 5.

Bidding for the Powdersville High Tennis Courts took place in November and grading is set to begin in December. Havird said much of the work on the tennis courts is temperature sensitive and temps must be above 50 degrees, making completion of the project difficult over the winter.

At Wren High School, work is underway for new Weightroom/Locker Rooms, Stadium Upgrades and Tennis Courts. The old field house and out buildings have been torn down and hauled off. Plans for the projects were submitted to the Office of School Facilities and DHEC in early November. Bids for the early grading package will be let Dec. 7, Havird said. Bids for the Weightroom/Locker Room and Tennis Courts are expected on Dec. 21.

At Palmetto, plans for the Palmetto High Multipurpose Building will be submitted to the Office of School Facilities in early spring and bids are expected to be taken in June of 2017. Start date for construction is July or August of 2017.

Havird said building costs are going up.

He also reported that 4×8 signs with the message “Your Penny at Work” will be placed at the construction sites for each of the projects to remind taxpayers that the one cent Local Option Sales Tax is paying for the projects.

Havird also reported that he has spoken with local law enforcement at West Pelzer, Williamston and Anderson County about adding additional resource officers and said “they are eager to help with more officers.”

The district is also placing cameras and wi-fi at athletic fields and stadiums for additional safety and security.

The Board unanimously approved a bid of $642,000 for construction of the tennis court facility at Powdersville High.Havird told the board the bid was higher than expected because of additional grading needed for the project. He said dirt from the project will be taken to Concrete Primary for their project and may result in lower cost on the Powdersville project.

Havird told the Board that District One continues to see residential growth and a related increase in students.

He gave a brief presentation on subdivision growth in the District.

He presented information on planned expansions of several underdeveloped subdivisions and showed a related map from the Anderson County Planning Department.

The Wren-Powdersville area continues to have a huge amount of building and developing reflecting the need for District One to have two new middle schools and additions, Havird said.

Greene, Finney and Horton Auditor Ken Meadows presented information on the annual audit. Meadows told the Board the District received an “Unmodified Opinion” which is “the best opinion the school district can receive.”

According to Meadows, highlights from the audit showed the General Fund Balance increased by $2.7 million to $14.1 million.

The Local Option Sales Tax generated $6.8 million for the district. Of that, $1.3 million went to Debt Service and $5.5 million Capital Projects.

Meadows said the District has an unassigned fund balance of $13.9 million which is 21 percent of budgeted expenditures for 2017. The GFOA recommend a minimum of 16.7 percent, or two months. Meadows said District One was below that minimum in 2013-14, right at it in 2015 and 2016 is above. “It is a good trend to recover,” he said.

General Fund revenues were higher than budgeted for 2016 at $62.7 million, primarily from an increase in property taxes and state funding, according to Meadows. Expenditures for 2016 were $61.7 million.

General Fund expenditures were up 3.3 percent increasing by $1.9 million over 2015. The increase was due to an increase in instruction and support salaries and benefits and almost $1 million in capital outlay projects.

The Capital Projects fund has a $5.2 million fund balance which is from the local option sales tax.

Meadow said District One is “In strong financial condition as of June 30.”

Additional details on the District One audit will be available in the next issue of The Journal.