By David Meade
During their meeting Tuesday, Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved a $785,000 budget change and a $981,872 bid for the Roe Road Connector project at Powdersville Middle School.
Before taking action, the Board heard a financial report, information on counselors and mentors in the district and a report on the nutrition program.
Finance Director Travis Thomas reported that Anderson County received $1,892,000 in local option sales tax revenue in November. The District’s share of $588,279 was received in February, Thomas said.
Of that, $117,000 will go toward property tax relief and debt service and $470,000 will be allocated for capital improvements. He said the fund balance is at $2.2 million.
Thomas also reported that approximately sixty-six percent of the district’s budget revenues for this school year have come in.
In presenting preliminary information related to the 2018-19 budget which the board will be looking at soon, Thomas said that the State House Ways and Means Committee is recommending an increase in funding amounting to $1,314,634 for District One. The five major categories are: employee contribution ($322,500); salary increase ($291,000); aid to districts ($115,000); teacher salary supplement ($361,000); and teacher salary fringe benefits ($131,000).
In previewing the expense side of the budget, Thomas said teacher salaries are mandated for a two percent increase. Thomas told the Board they are looking at step increase for experience and adding one year (26th year) which is estimated at $1,050,000; a step increase and 26th year experience for other skilled employees will be approximately $50,000 and adding four School Resource Officers (SRO) to give the district one full time SRO at each school, approximately $210,000.
He also said that employee retirement and health insurance will see increases next year.
Estimated student growth is expected to be positive and will result in an additional $460,000 in funding, Thomas said.
A large portion of the budget will depend on the Base Student Cost set by the state and whether the state funds a one percent or two percent salary increase for teachers
In her report, Instructional Superintendent Jane Harrison said the district has invested in a lot of professional development and training with teachers in support of the classroom.
She also said that while District One has many wonderful families that are very supportive of their children, there are some in the district who do not have a lot of support at home.
She said District One has twenty-six school counselors, seven mental health counselors and the mentoring program to help students and families in the district.
There was a presentation on a mentoring program being administered in partnership with the Easley/Powdersville YMCA.
YMentor Program Director Christy Coffee explained the success of the program and showed a video of how one mentor had become involved and helped one particular child in the district.
Coffee said the program started with seventy-five mentors and now has 150 and also doubled after school sites from four to eight.
“It has been a good year,” she said. “We are really passionate in the community, and you make that happen.”
Following her presentation, Coffee was presented a plaque of appreciation from District One for the YMentor program.
Powdersville High Band Director Terry Ferrell told the board that the Powdersville High School Concert Band had received an “All Superior” with distinction at the state competition recently held at Dorman High School.
Assistant Superintendent Robbie Binnicker reported that the Student Nutrition program is fully staffed with no vacancies and that the program is showing a year to date profit of $429,000. He said the district will be spending money on equipment updates.
In Board action, the Board unanimously approved a budget amendment to add $785,500 to the general fund.
The unexpected revenue came from Educational Finance Act funding for additional student enrollment ($190,000) and ERATE Rebates for technology upgrades, which amounted to fifty six percent of the money spent on upgrades coming back to the district as a rebate ($334,500).
The district was also able to sell older IPad minis to recoup $261,000.
A project bid of $981,872 by Rogers Group was approved for the Roe Road Connector Project.
Superintendent David Havird said one reason the company was able to come in with the lowest bid of four contractors was that they own an asphalt company and the project has a lot of asphalt.
He said DHEC, Army Corps of engineering and County permitting have been completed and construction will begin early to mid April. Completion date for the project is July 31.
Havird said Anderson County, with the support of Safe Routes to Schools and District Six Councilman Ken Water have been very supportive of the project.
The board then went into executive session to discuss a contractual matter.
By David Meade