Work begins on Middle Schools, Board addresses alternative nicotine products

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By David Meade
The Anderson School District One Board heard an update on the building program, approved five policy changes including three related to providing a drug and alcohol free workplace, tobacco and alternative nicotine use and enforcement.
District One Superintendent of Education Jane Harrison was recognized for recently receiving the SCASA 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. A video of her acceptance speech at the SCASA meeting was shown.
Superintendent Robbie Binnicker said her speech and notes were about everybody else. “That is who Jane is,” he said.
“She is one of those leaders that gets things done. When she asks, they do it. They don’t want to disappoint her.”
“She always gets things done with sugar,” Binnicker said. He thanked Harrison for what she does for AD1.
Harrison was presented a plaque recognizing the achievement.
District One Finance Director Travis Thomas reported that District One received $614,000 from the Local Option Sales Tax for the month of February. Of that, $491,000 will go to capital projects. $122,797 will go to property tax relief.  Responding to a question by board member Mike Wilson regarding the improved economy, Thomas said proceeds from the LOST have been better than expected and continues to rise. The District’s fund balance is currently at $3 million, he said.
In her Instructional report, Harrison said the District is preparing for the next school year. The addition of two tech support positions will allow more support to schools and will be a huge support for teachers and administrators, she said.
Harrison reported that summer schools were going very good. The new Camp IRock summer reading support program has approximately 60 to 65 students participating.  Harrison said 85 people, including parents, attended a partner meeting about the program and the District received very good comments about it.
Several programs are wrapping up including Goal Post at Palmetto Elementary, CREATE, Chorus and Art. Thirty-two students have recovered credits or accrued a credit she said. AD1 had over $13 million in scholarship awards.
The board gave their consent to a request by Harrison to allow E-learning to make up snow days at home. Harrison said the process is already in place and ready to go and that the district has the technology.
Assistant Superintendent of Administration, Dr. Kelly Pew reported that the student nutrition program continues to see participation numbers go up.
A surplus of revenue for the program will be used to purchase higher quality food she said.
She said the Student Nutrition Director Jeff Dopkins continues to make meals more appealing, adding breakfast and a vegetarian box.
The summer feed program continues with lunch at Wren Middle and offering breakfast at Wren Elementary and Palmetto Elementary where there are other learning programs going on, Dr. Pew said. Palmetto and Wren Elementary and the Mineral Spring Park food programs will be closed the week of July 4th. Wren Middle will be open July 1-3 and July 5. The programs continue through July and into August.
Approximately $91,000 in proceeds from the program have been used for new equipment and repairs including new tables at Palmetto High.
Superintendent Binnicker updated the board on the building program. Binnicker showed video of construction underway at Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle School projects.
He said planning and work is underway on four secure vestibules projects at Powdersville Elementary, Spearman Elementary, West Pelzer Elementary and Hunt Meadows Elementary. They should be complete by August.
Palmetto High and Powdersville Middle require more extensive work and some changes to the original plan.
Binnicker said he will present revised plans to the board at a later date.
Planning meetings have been held with principals and leadership at Powdersville Elementary, Middle and High school, Cedar Grove Elementary and Spearman Elementary, Binnicker said. The building programs are on schedule. There will be a meeting with the bond rating analyst on July 2. He said they expect to receive a rating mid July and begin the bond sale near the end of July. Delivery of funds to the District is expected sometime in August.
Grading for parking at both Palmetto Middle and Wren Middle is underway and several buildings have been torn down at Wren Middle. Also at Wren Middle, the practice field is the site of the new middle school and a new practice field is being constructed.
Footings have been poured at Palmetto Middle and work will begin soon on the building.
Binnicker said the building program is two weeks ahead of schedule right now. Binnicker said they may be able to use Terrazzo tile for the floors, which he said “lasts forever and looks great.”
The Board held first reading on the ADC policy which designates the School District Tobacco Free, adding alternative nicotine products and youth access to tobacco prevention guides. It is modeled after the SC School Board Association policy. It also addresses how to enforce the policy.
Updates to the GBEC policy allows the District to make sure they have a drug and alcohol free workplace. It adds alcohol to the drug free wording and allows the district to test an employee if there is reasonable suspicion for it.
Updates to the GCR-R, Professional Hiring policy changes requirements the District has for a transcript and health verification during the hiring process. It also allows online applications to be submitted.
The Homebound Instruction policy IHBF change allows a licensed physician or nurse practitioner or physicians assistant to sign if approved at the end of a school year for the district to provide services.
The JICG policy regarding Tobacco use by students was changed to include alternative nicotine products and how to enforce. It also addresses consequences if a student is using either.