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School Board Awards $2,548,916 contract for new Stadium

By Anne Waits
web posted November 15, 2012

JOHNSTON – The Edgefield County School Board meeting, held Tuesday evening, Nov. 13, began with the swearing in of two new board members and ended with the District awarding a $2,548,916 contract to Edcon, Inc. for the construction of the new Stadium Renovation Project.

An overflow crowd of parents and school personnel attended the meeting. Following the usual call to order, invocation and pledge of allegiance, School Superintendent Greg Anderson recognized outgoing Board member Sallie Cooks with a plaque for her 12 years of service. Chris Hoffmann, also an outgoing Board member, was not present.

New Board members Robin Ball and Latoya Hammond were sworn in by former Board member Leslie Culpepper.

The School Board then gave permission for Joseph Friar of JET Middle School to take the Mock Trial Team to Lexington to participate in the state competition on Dec. 7-8.
Under Instructional Services, Assistant Superintendent Donna Strom gave a presentation explaining the partial impact of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver which was approved for South Carolina in July. Currently 35 states, including Washington, D.C., have been granted flexibility.

"This means that rather than 100 percent on testing by 2014, we are expected to increase a little each year for the next six years," she said. "Compared to the 'No Child Left Behind' requirements, there is a lot more flexibility with the wavier."
The four principles that guide the ESEA waiver were explained with the number one emphasis being on college and career ready standards (Common Core) and assessments for all students. The enormous impact to both students and educators was stressed.

"There are still many questions that are under review at the state level with both educator evaluations and student assessments," she said.

Strom noted that the current P.A.S.S. test given each spring requires students' knowledge in one subject area per test. However, with the shift in standards and instructional delivery to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the assessments will check for knowledge in real-world, predictable, and unpredictable situations. There will be both summative and formative questions during the next few years as the test results will be different, she said.

It was emphasized that the teachers in Edgefield County Schools are working to learn the new standards, A district committee comprised of administrators and teachers are meeting monthly and taking this this information back to individual schools in an effort to be ready for full implementation during the next school year.

A review of currently released district and school report card results was given. In 2011, the District was Average-Below Average; in 2012 it is Average-At Risk.  B was the Overall Grade Conversion. There were some variances, but the basic calculation was correct, she said.

Douglas Elementary and Johnston Elementary received an F, with priority; Merriwether Elementary received an A; W.E. Parker and Merriwether Middle received a B; JET Middle received a B; Strom Thurmond High received a C; and Fox Creek received a B.
"I'm proud of what I've seen in these teachers in these schools," Strom said. "I don't want anyone feeling anything but pride in what they're doing."

Strom also delivered the Quarterly Report for Johnston Elementary School. The waiver indicated that any school in the state that falls under priority status must formulate a plan. Their plan is "Challenge to Achieve" and the School Board was given a progress report.

They were also informed of a Life Skills 101 Class at Strom Thurmond High School. Edgefield County School Superintendent Greg Anderson said, "We want to help our students deal with the real world. We're hoping life skills will do that."
The Report was approved unanimously.

Director of Operations and Facilities James Courtney informed the Board that there had been a break in the water main at Merriwether Middle School Monday morning.
"We sent a truck and found the problem," he said. "We notified the water authority and Merriwether Fire Department. The school day went on. They improvised. I want to commend the staff. The repair was made. It just left puddles and mud."

Courtney also informed the Board that they had received all the bids on the stadium project on Oct. 25 and had reviewed information and negotiated with the two lowest bidders. The lowest was still over the projected cost.

After the executive session, the Board voted to go with the lowest bidder, Edcon, Inc.
"We looked at some value engineering items, like concrete and some mechanical equipment. It was reviewed and accepted. This allowed the bid to be accepted," said Courtney.

The Board also voted on some student appeals, an employee termination and appeal, a resignation and a medical leave request, and then the meeting was adjourned.

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