Anderson District One School Board amends budget; hears updates on summer reading and building programs



The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees amended the 2021-22 budget to reflect a $1 million increase in revenues allocated in the SC Senate State Budget. The Board also heard an update on the building program and an in depth report on programs that track student “loss of learning” and other area’s last year during COVID.

District Bus Supervisor Benny Bridges and two long time AD1 bus drivers, Cindy Posey and Sacajawea Blassingame, thanked the Board for their support of bus drivers during the pandemic and with a recent raise. They also said they appreciated the new transportation facility that is being constructed at Spearman.

Superintendent Robbie Binnicker gave an update on the District One finances including the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). Total revenues for Anderson County (March) amounted to $5.9 million. Of that, 31.5 percent, or $1.85 million came to District One. $1.5 million will be used for Capital projects and $383,000 for property tax relief. $6 million of that will be transferred to the Building Fund. The Board previously committed $20 million from the LOST 1 cent sales tax to the building fund of which $8 million has already been transferred. The LOST currently has a $5.2 million fund balance. An additional $6 million will be transferred probably within the next three years, Binnicker said.

The Building Fund currently has a fund balance of $37.3 million with several projects on the list being completed this summer and fall. Binnicker said that chiller replacement at the high schools and roofing at Powdersville Middle has been completed. Work on the two new middle schools is almost complete.
Anderson School District One will hold special dedication ceremonies and open house for two new Middle Schools on Thursday, August 5, 2021. Dedication for the new Palmetto Middle School will be 3:30 to 4 p.m. in the cafeteria with tours of the school to follow. A Dedication Ceremony for the new Wren Middle School will be held 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria with tours of the school to follow.

District 1 Director of Elementary Education Brad Moore updated the Board on the District’s summer reading program and a recent state evaluation of it. Moore said that he and Dr. Chris Ferguson, Director of Secondary Education, met with administration and leadership teams as part of the transition following the retirement of Jane Harrison, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction.
Moore said the reading program focused on working with readers that are not proficient in grades K5 though 5th grade. The program includes reading and writing, he said.
Moore said the District 1 program had small groups of students with 12 or less in a classroom.

The evaluation was done over a six week period by Jennifer Brown, Literacy Specialist at the SC Department of Education

According to Moore, the evaluation was very positive and showed no major areas for improvement.
It said that the use of anchor charts, intentional teaching, ownership by teachers on routines and procedures, and teachers being very encouraging of students showed “a culture thing”.
It also reflected leadership on the District and school level, he said.
A followup email by Brown stated, “AD1 did a great job” and teachers were well equipped and supported and AD1 is using all of their resources for the program.

Christy Shealy, Director of Testing and Accountability, gave an in depth presentation on new tools teachers are using to evaluate “learning lost” by students during school shutdowns due to the pandemic.
Four tools being provided by the state include: MAP, Education Analytics, Frontline Enrich and Tableau.
Each student has a graph that tracks how they would have done if not for COVID and breaks down into three categories or Tiers. Classroom teachers have access to the data and can look at individual students immediately.
She said that in most categories, District 1 students did very well and elementary students are well above the state average on every level of achievement. She said there are some pockets that need to do a little extra work.
On the “Road to Recovery” plan, District 1”far exceeded where they should have been.”

Becky Brady, Director of Personnel, gave the nutrition report. Brady said the program served more than 66,000 meals during the school year. The summer program has served 26,820 at five different location, she said. Brady said reading coaches teamed with the program to provide reading and fun activities that were sent home with students.
Applications are being taken for free and reduced lunch meals each day, she said.

In the building program update, Binnicker said work continues at Palmetto Elementary and Palmetto High, Wren Elementary and Wren High. He also said there will be some last minute cleanup at the high schools to be ready for the first day of school
At Palmetto High, work on the old office space will probably go on to October. Wren High work should be finished, Binnicker said.
Work on the two elementary schools will be on a tight schedule with “A lot to do. We can’t make any mistakes because we don’t have time to get behind.” Binnicker said final inspection is scheduled for Aug. 9. The first day of school will be August 17.

The Board approved a budget amendment reflecting an additional $1 million in revenue allocated in the Senate version of the State budget. The final budget provided an additional $1000 for each teacher salaries. The 2021-22 budget was amended from $85,333,631 to $86,543,207.