By David Meade
Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a report on the opening of school, approved the purchase of property for future expansion of the Career Center and approved a bid for work on the Palmetto High Multipurpose facility.
During his report, Superintendent David Havird said the opening of school went “very smooth” and that District One enrollment went over the 10,000 mark this year. Havird said several schools had larger enrollment and total student enrollment was 10023. He said the District is expecting a few more.
Havird said last year on day one, District One had 9845 students enrolled and had 178 more students this year on the first day. Seven more students enrolled during the first five days this year, he said.
Palmetto High had 1002; Palmetto Middle, 777; Cedar Grove Elementary, 644; Palmetto Elementary, 593; West Pelzer Elementary, 448.
Powdersville High had 862; Wren High, 1111; Wren Middle, 802; Powdersville Middle, 677; Concrete Elementary, 724; Hunt Meadows, 557; Powdersville Elementary, 634; Spearman Elementary, 636; Wren Elementary, 556.
Havird said enrollment was “booming” and will probably go up. He told the board the additional student enrollment was not included in the budget and the base student cost the district will receive from the state “will help us.”
Havird said there was “a lot of preparation in July and August” by District One staff including instruction and teacher prep that contributed to the smooth opening schools this year.
Havrid also said that online orientation and registration helped but the new process was “very challenging to parents.”
Havird said that fees can now be paid online.
He also added that bus drivers participated in registration and helped with route information.
“It was a very smooth start,” he said. “There were some challenges.”
Those challenges were primarily in the Powdersville area with traffic and several over crowded buses, according to Havird.
Havird said the opening ceremony held at Powdersville High showcased teachers and the start of the new school year. “It was truly a celebration of a great opening to the school year.”
Havird also reported that the district had come up with a way to provide ROTC to students at Powdersville High.
According to Havird the military will not approve any new ROTC programs because South Carolina is already over represented. After several unsuccessful years of working to get the program into Powdersville, the last option was to bus Powdersville students to Wren High to participate in the ROTC program there.
Fifty-six students are being bused from Powdersville to Wren, he said.
The Wren program has approximately 82 participants, he said. With the addition of the Powdersville students, the ROTC program at Wren High will be at 125.
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jane Harrison reported the opening of the school year was the “best ever” and featured “Our favorite teachers theme.”
“We wanted it to be a celebration,” she said. Harrison said the opening program was like a pep rally with a band, cheerleaders and kids from the feeder schools participating.
Leslie Martin, US History teacher at Powdersville High School was announced as the 2017-18 Teacher of the Year.
Michael Miller of Wren Middle was named the first Anderson One Induction Teacher of the Year.
Lyn Ridlehoover, administrative assistant at Wren High was named Support Person of the Year.
Harrison reported that Spanish is being taught in elementary schools and there is a Spanish program for educators.
She said district personnel also participated in a suicide prevention training with Clemson University.
During the meeting, Board members were presented posters and asked to sign “a pledge to stand up for public education.”
Harrison said the District One Board strives “to help our district be the best district in the state.”
Assistant Superintendent for Administration Robbie Binnicker reported that the Nutrition Program served 1.2 million meals during the previous year, which he said was very close to the number served the year prior.
According to Binnicker, the program is showing a $324,000 year to date profit.
Wren High and Palmetto High have some very old lines which need replacing, Binnicker said.
New equipment including computers and steamers will be purchased at a cost of $139,000, he said. An additional $175,000 will go back to the district for indirect costs, primarily for fringe benefits for program employees.
Board members approved the purchase of 6.566 acres of property near the Anderson Districts One & Two Career and Technology Center at a cost of $131,320. Havird said the property purchase will be made with funds from the local option sales tax and will be available for future expansion of the Career and Technology Center. Anderson District Two is also purchasing an additional five acres for a total of 11.5 acres.
Havird said the purchase is “For future access to additional property for building in the next five to ten years” and that it is “an effort by Anderson District One to support the Career and Technology Center.” Havird said three fourths of the students attending the CTC are from District One.
The Board also unanimously approved a bid cost of $1,637,369 for construction of the Palmetto High Athletic Multi-Purpose facility. M. B. Kahn will be the general contractor for the project. Construction is expected to begin in mid September with completion by late January. The bid includes a five percent contingency for unexpected expenses, Havird said.
The Board also approved the resignation of Anna Stowe, Grade 2, West Pelzer Elementary and transfer of David Vaughn, from Wren Elementary PE Teacher to Wren Elementary Assistant Principal.