Anderson District One Schools open with 10,874 students


New building program already planned

During their meeting Tuesday, the Anderson School District One Board sold a piece of property for a right-of-way, approved an updated emergency plan and contracted for additional mental health counselors. The District is also planning a new building program to deal with increasing enrollment.
Superintendent Robbie Binnicker said the opening of school last week went “exceptionally well” except for a “freak accident” involving a Wren Middle Student who was injured when he was struck by a vehicle in the Wren High parking lot.
Binnicker said the student is still in the intensive care unit.
He said District One Schools had the typical congestion that comes with the first days of school opening and that has died down some in the second week. He said there are some problems at schools due to “a lot of cars”.
Binnicker said the ten day average enrollment was 10,874 students, which is 281 more than last year. He also said he expects enrollment to reach approximately 11,000 by the end of the school year.
Wren Middle had 976 students enrolled, Concrete Elementary had 843, Powdersville Elementary had 752 and Spearman had 800.
The enrollment numbers show the need for a new building program that will begin next year to relieve overcrowding in the District which has just finished a new $132 million building program that included construction of two new middle schools, classroom additions, renovations and safety improvements throughout the District.
The Board recently approved a $20 million bond issue which will be combined with $23.4 million from Local Option Sales Tax funding and $2.3 million from the General Fund to fund the new building program.
Plans are for a new elementary school in the Powdersville area to relieve overcrowding at Concrete Primary and Powdersville Elementary schools. Approximate cost is $35 million.
The plan also calls for a 10 room additon to Powdersville Middle, which will be built on top of the current addition at an estimated cost of $3.5 million.
A 6-8 room addition is planned for a Palmetto Area Elementary School at an estimated cost of $2 million to $4.6 million.
A 10 room addtion is also being planned for the new Wren Middle School. Estimated cost is $2.6 million.
A Phase 2 building program for 2027 will include a new elementary school in the southern end of the Spearman Elementary attendance area to relieve overcrowding at Spearman. Cost is estimated at $40 million.
The Board approved a right of way for a ReWa sewer project along the sidewalk at Powdersville High School and Ragsdale Road. The District will receive $9,700, the appraised value for the property, for the right of way.
Dr. Wilson reported that Anderson County School Districts are working on a new modified year round calendar. The proposed calendar will have school starting earlier and ending earlier. He said it will fit with the block schedule that has been implemented at the High Schools and allow students to finish testing at the end of the school year. It will also end school before graduation. He said the two week change will result in a “shorter summer”, with the start of school being in July.
The Board approved a new Emergency Plan which includes changes to the Reunification Plan with new sites and other changes. A training session with Anderson County Emergency Management is planned for October, he said. There will also be a training session next Spring in one of the District 1 schools.
The Board approved policies regarding Social Studies Education, Patriotic Exercises, Flag/Motto Displays and Promotion and Retention. The policies reflect recognizing patriot days and displaying the State Motto in all of the schools.
The promotion policy has a language update to reflect what the District is currently doing, Dr. Wilson said.
The Board approved a one year contract with Carolina Family Service, Inc. to increase the number of counselors in the District. District One currently has twelve counselors and the new contract will allow at least one counselor to be in each school.
Binnicker said District One has seen an increase in the need for Mental Health counselors, especially for students that have “significant issues” with depression and anxiety.
Binnicker said the contracted counselors will provide services similar to the mental health counselors the district already has.