Anderson School District 1 Board hears building update, holds budget worksession

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During their meeting Tuesday, the Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard an update on the building program, approved 29 new hires and held a budget worksession.

Superintendent Robbie Binnicker praised Director of Personnel Becky Brady for the work she and her staff put into recruiting new teachers for the District.

Financial Director Travis Thomas reported the Local Option Sales Tax for December and January brought in $5.2 million to Anderson County. District One’s share amounted to $1,692,000. Of that, $338,000 went toward property tax relief and $1.3 million toward capital improvements.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jane Harrison reported on instructional programs that have helped teachers and students including literacy programs for Pre-K through Grade 5, which she said is “one of our strongest programs.”
“You have to know how to read. It starts at Pre-K.”

K4 programs include phonics, writing books small group, shared reading and emergent storybook reading.
K2 includes phonics, reading, writing, units of study and emergent storybook, she said.

Harrison also updated the Board on the District’s Intervention program and help received from the State Department of Education. “They have provided specific programs that really help,” Harrison said.
Dr. Kelly Pew reported the Nutrition Program served a record 8,530 meals for March and April revenue exceeded $600,000, which she said is the highest in the program history. The District will be offering summer feeding sites at schools everyday during the summer, she said. There will be drive up car line at five locations.
She also reported that the national free breakfast and lunch program will be available to all students next year.
Superintendent Binnicker updated the Board on the building program.
“We are in the busiest time of the entire program,” he said.
Binnicker said Phase 3, which includes connecting the new cafeteria/gym building to the rest of the building is underway at Wren Middle School.
Two big roofing and HVAC projects are undeway at Wren and Palmetto Elementary schools.
Renovations at Palmetto High will start in June and should be completed by the end of summer. There will be one area that will not be finished until October. That area will be walled off, Binnicker said.
New windows and doors are being installed at the Adult Education Building over the summer.
“We are doing an exceptional job on the cost of construction materials,” Binnicker said. “We have been able to keep all projects under budget.”
He said the District’s construction manager has done a great job and paid incredible dividends for the district.
Responding to a question by Board member David Merritt, Binnicker said the “wall mural” at Palmetto Middle will be moved to Mineral Spring Park sometime in May. The Town of Williamston is providing equipment to move the wall, which was original to the building when it was constructed at Palmetto High School.
The entrance and auditorium will be torn down soon.
Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess has worked with the District to preserve the “wall mural”.
Binnicker said an engineering firm made a lazer dye of the wall art so that it could be “recreated” if there was a problem during the relocation.
Binnicker also stated that chairs from the auditorium are also being made available to the public, should someone want them. The chairs are original from the 1950s and were redone several years ago.
The Board then held a worksession on the 2021-22 budget. Budget highlights include:
Projected revenues for the budget are $84,54,522. Projected expenses are $85,104,355.
Current millage for the District is 153.4 mills.
The budget proposes an increase to 165.3 mills, which includes an adjustment for CPI and growth.
The increase will fall primarily on businesses, rental properties and automobiles.
Board Chair Nancy Upton said she did not want to use money from the fund balance to balance the budget.
Finance Director Travis Thomas said there are still a lot of things going on with the Senate version of the budget and he expects the base student cost to be increased, which would help balance the budget.

Additional details of the budget worksession will be highlighted next week in The Journal.