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School Board Holds Final Meeting of School Year

web posted June 13, 2014

JOHNSTON A highlight of the Edgefield County School Board meeting Tuesday night was the decision to hire Dr. Robert B. Ross of Spartanburg as the new principal of Strom Thurmond High School. Following the Board's decision at the recommendation of administration, Ross and his family were introduced to the Board and those in attendance. Dr. Ross holds a bachelor of science degree from Clemson University; a master of education and an education specialist degree from Converse College; and a doctorate in leadership in education administration from Capella University.

He went from practice teaching and football coach at Spartanburg High School to teaching to at various schools to summer school principal to high school assistant principal at Chapman High School where he is currently employed. He will begin duties as Strom Thurmond's new principal at the beginning of the new school year.

"Thank you for the opportunity to serve you," he said. "I will do everything I can to make this high school move ahead and continue to work on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. You don't have to worry about my loyalty. It's something I cherish, a strength I believe in."

Under Trips and Projects, Darla Steele of Strom Thurmond Career Technology Center was granted permission to take students to the FFA State Convention in Clemson June 11-13 and to take students to the FFA Leadership Camp in Cherry Grove Beach July 29-Aug. 1.

The School Board then approved the minutes of the May 23, 2014 Board Meeting.
Under Instructional Services, Assistant Superintendent Donna Strom had several items to present. The first was a program called CDEPP, which stands for Child Development Education Pilot Program, for at-risk 4-year-olds.

"The state selects districts who meet a level consistent with their regulations," Strom said "This would give us a chance to receive funding for our 4-year-olds and greatly help financially. It would give a boost to the 4-year-old classrooms for needed equipment."
Strom said she had not known about it until about a month ago and quite a bit had been done since then. The work closely with the Department of Social Services and she had talked to other districts who have the program.

"We would have to revise our policies to reflect those of CDEPP and follow their guidelines," she said.

The Board approved the policy on first reading.

The second was regarding In-District Transfer Requests and was for the Board's information, "The principals would like to see a two-step process for in-district transfers," she said. "For instance, a parent who has a child going to one elementary school and would like to transfer them to another elementary school would go to or call or write the school they want to transfer from and tell them they want to transfer. This would allow the parents to have a conversation with both principals.The process would mirror the out--of-district tranfers."

The third items, a Title I Project Summary annual review, was presented to the Board.
"The waiver. based on ESEA regulations, has not been formally received by our state," Strom said. "Mrs. Hamilton, the Title I facilitator, is having to wait on them."

Based on administration's recommendation, the Board approved the review.

The fourth item was regarding ACT155-HSAP/Diploma Update. Strom announced that students who did not have HSAP since 1990 but passed all course requirements would now be allowed to get a diploma. In the past, they have not been allowed to get a diploma, but beginning with the class of 2015, HSAP will not be required. HSAP will not be given after this July.

"Anyone who didn't get a diploma since 1990 because of HSAP can petition to the School Board to get one based on credit requirements," said Strom. "All efforts will be made to get the word out."

And finally, the Literacy Teacher Endorsement-Option for Certified Staff. New legislation by the governor last week has stated that elementary teachers will be required to take five literacy courses over a 10 year period. Middle school, high school and administrators must take one course in five years.

"These courses are about $1,400," said Strom. "We feel we need to help our teachers relieve some of this stress."

In an effort to lessen the cost, the District will contract with colleges for on-site instruction for a nominal fee.

Under Fiscal Services, the School Board passed the 2014/2015 Budget on Second Reading. Fiscal Services Director David Fallaw explained the changes to the budget since first reading, bringing the total budget to $27 million and 45 dollars.

"Johnston Elementary has added back a 5-year-old classroom," he said. "This accounts for $75,000 added to the budget. However, we have new revenue coming from the House Budget. We had a new Senate Budget.  This led to clearer projections which offset the addition somewhat."

There will still be no tax increase and no use of the fund balance.

The final item under Fiscal Services was the TAN (Tax Anticipation Notes) Resolution.
Fallaw explained that most of the local tax money does not come in until December. The TAN Resolution, a short-term loan protection, allows the District to draw down money to cover expenses in case they need it. His recommendation was to take out the protection in the amount of $800,000.The School Board voted to approve it. 

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