School board approves budget, hears proposal for ballfield property

By David Meade
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees announced Tuesday that Seth Young will be the new principal at Wren High School.
Young was recently named principal at Wren Middle, however with the departure of Wren Prinicpal Nicole Boseman, he applied for the principal position at the high school with Board approval, got the job. Boseman is taking a position in School District 4 as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation.
The Board also approved final reading on the 2017-18 General Fund Budget of $71,145,357.

Highlights of the budget include hiring an additional eight new teachers to meet expected growth of 200 new students and adding three resource officers for elementary schools.
The budget also addresses a required step increase in salaries for employees and retirement funding requirements.
There will be an increase in taxes for vehicle, business property and rental property. There will be a reduction in student fees, Havird said.
The budget will be presented to the Anderson County School Board for approval this week.
Superintendent David Havird introduced District One Resource Officers including: Jeremy Sargent of the Williamston Police Department, and Anderson County Deputies Samuel Hopkins, Matt Guthrie, Shanika Simpson, T. J. Burgess, Mike Hall and Andrew Cochrane. Chief Brewer of the West Pelzer Police Department also provides services.
Havird said the new budget adds three additional resource officers specifically for elementary schools.
“We have done an excellent job making sure we have safe schools,” Havird said. They are confident, capable and caring, Havird said.
Havird said the resource officers work extremely hard, crossing boundaries to work together and do a lot behind the scenes, including mentoring and counseling students and their families.
“We have made keeping students and staff safe in Anderson District One a priority.”
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jane Harrison reported that the Palmetto High AFJROTC unit received  the  Distinguished Unit Award for the ninth year in a row and their third Community Service Award.
Harrison also reported that 19 middle school students had completed the Governor’s School Accelerate Program including eight at Powdersville Middle, six at Wren Middle and five at Palmetto Middle.
The students receive college credits and help with future college tuition.
The Board gave consensus to continue with a comprehensive health program, which encourages making proud choices and drawing the line, respect the line in middle school. The Board also approved a related ADF-Wellness Policy.
Harrison said the program to prevent teen pregnancy is “very sensitive in nature” and encourages abstinence.  It provides 14 unit lessons through Physical Education classes.
The course will be taught by a trained PE instructor at all three District One High Schools, Harrison said.
Parents are being notified in a variety of ways and the policy is posted on the District website she said. Parents also have the option to opt out their child.
The program is sponsored through a United Way grant which includes a trained person to help, Havird said.
The Board also gave their consensus to a local board approved course, Introduction to STEM, which will be taught in grades 6-8 at Wren Middle School in the coming year.
Harrison reported that District One did all end of year testing online and that the upgrade in infrastructure by the District “has really helped.”
Superintendent Robbie Binnicker reported the Nutrition program had a year to date profit of $311,000 compared to $196,000 this time last year, but will pay out $207,000 to the District for indirect costs and $158,000 in fringe benefits. The program should about break even for the year, Binnicker said.
Binnicker also said that due to a Federal requirement, there will be a ten cent increase in breakfast and lunch prices in the coming school year. He also reported that summer meal programs will be available again this year and are ready to go.
Before approving the budget, Havird said that it is based on the State Senate Budget, which is expected to be voted on this week.
If the state budget changes, it will affect the local school district budget, however Havird said they can be flexible and can adjust technology and maintenance so that the district will not have to cut staff or teachers.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham presented information related to a request the town has made for a donation of property for recreation.
Durham said the town would like to make improvements to the ball fields located behind town hall, but must own the property to do so. The property is nine acres owned by the school district.
Among those improvements are  reconfiguring three existing little league infields, seeding with Rye grass and building three new little league infields with topsoil, sod and irrigation. The existing regulation size ball field will see some upgrades also.
The town would also like to construct new dugouts along with a centrally located concession and pressbox area. Durham said the project will be implemented in phases as funding is available over a five year period.
Costs for Phase One amount to $30,300.
Durham said the recreation improvements are needed to keep up with the growth the program has seen under director B. J. Tompkins.
According to Durham , the program has grown from 80 kids to more that 800.  The town’s recreation program is primarily baseball, however since the changes in Pelzer recreation last year, it now includes other sports and cheerleading.
Durham said the town has funding available and hopes to match with grant funding  in the future to accomplish the upgrades.
“This first phase would be a  huge step for this program,” Durham said.
The District also owns nine more acres in the vicinity including and surrounding the ball field where the Palmetto High baseball team plays.
The presentation was accepted as information.