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BOE Holds First Reading on $26,925,045 Budget with No Tax Increases

By Anne Waits
web posted May 15, 2014

JOHNSTON The Edgefield County School Board passed on first reading a $26,925,045 budget for the school year 2014/2015 at Tueday night's meeting. This is a $409,131 projected increase over the current year. "We held our budget hearing earlier today," said David Fallaw, fiscal services director. "The good news is that it (the budget) was balanced without using any reserve funds and there will be no tax increase."

He added that he would like to thank everyone for all they've done. "I was amazed at all the help I've received," he said. "I've had people coming forward offering to help tighten up wherever possible."

In a Special Order of Business at the beginning of the meeting, several students were recognized for their accomplishments. On Friday, May 9, Essence Mealing, an eighth-grade student at JET Middle School, was honored by the Old-Ninety-Six Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for winning the eighth-grade division of their district essay contest. The topic was "The Lives of Children During the American Revolution." Essence is an honor student at JET, and she is the daughter of Melissa Mealing of Trenton. Markayla Barnes, an eighth-grade student at JET Middle School, was named by the Office of Lt. Governor of the State of South Carolina as overall state winner of the Lt. Governor's Bridging Generations Contest.

Her essay, "Blessed," is about her grandmother Annette Holloway and is featured on BGTime,org. Markayla and her family have been invited to join the Lt. Governor at the State House to be recognized at a later date. She is the daughter of Starlet Robinson of Johnston and Markay Barnes of Columbia. Markayla was asked to read her essay at the School Board meeting. Gabriel McGhee, who was not in attendance, participated in the 2013-2014 DAR Essay Contest through his ELA class at Merriwether Middle School.

Gabriel's age division was required to write a 600-1,000 word essay pretending he was a child during the Colonial fight for freedom, using historical facts and discussing how the war was affecting his life. Gabriel was chosen winner of his age division and his essay was forwarded to the state competition where he again won top honor in his age division. He and the other winners at the state level were honored at a lunch in Columbia earlier this year. One other award winner was recognized and will receive a separate write-up later.

Superintendent Greg Anderson mentioned that the Scoreboard Contest (for the Scoreboard facing Highway 23) had over 50 entries and judging will be done soon.
Under Trips and Projects, the School Board granted Michelle W. Smith of Strom Thurmond Career Technology Center permission to take students to Nashville, Tenn. June 27-July 3. 2014 to the National FBLA Leadership Conference.

Following this, the Board approved minutes or the April 22, 2014 Board Meeting; March 21, 2014 Discipline Hearing; March 28, 2014 Discipline Hearing; and April 16, 2014 Discipline Hearing.

Under Instructional Services, Vickie Butler with the Edgefield County Adult Education Program, gave an update on adult education. Butler said the Edgefield County Adult Education Program was the first program in the state to offer inmates an opportunity to get an education. The program is voluntary. To date, 53 students have completed the program. A plaque was presented the School District on behalf of the Federal Prison.
Also under Instructional Services, a scholarship update was given by Jill Jett. It was announced that the 2014 STHS seniors have broken a school record. Scholarships valuing over $4,000,000 are being given to deserving students with exceptional academic, athletic and various talents. Lisa Crocker, London Booker, Donald Woosley, Katherine McKenzie, Connie Shannon and Pat Faulk were recognized for their contributions toward these seniors.

Also under Fiscal Services, Melissa Jackson, director of Food Services, announced that there will be no price increase for school meals.

Under the office of Superintendent, Anderson announced that the Retirement Banquet will be May 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Jay Jeffries, the Channel 26 weatherman will be the guest speaker. Also, graduation exercises will be June 6 and Keith McAlister will be guest speaker.

In addition, the Board approved a Senior Roundtable Proposal. Anderson will ask Jett if she will provide five or six seniors to come to the next Board meeting to give input on various matters.

The Board also was asked to look over the proposed 2014-2015 School Board Meeting Dates.

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