A large crowd of educators and community members gathered at the Fairfield Elementary School for the first school board meeting of the 2012-13 school year. A quorum was present though vice chairwoman Marchella Pauling was absent for the meeting.
Allocation of bond funding, revising the grade scale, early academic intervention and dual capacity positions were among the items discussed.
Teachers of the year were recognized for each school in the district and the district teacher of the year, Sarah Tucker, also was honored.
Four schools in the district were recognized for receiving Palmetto Gold or Palmetto Silver awards.
The Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science received the Palmetto Gold award for academic performance.
Kelly Miller Elementary received the Palmetto Gold in academic achievement and the Palmetto Silver for narrowing the achievement gap at the school.
McCrorey Liston School for technology received the Palmetto Silver Award for academic performance while Fairfield Central High School received the Palmetto Silver Award for closing the achievement gap.
Superintendent J.R. Green had several recommendations for the board.
With regard to IG Development Policy and Review, he recommended that enhancements to the curriculum that did not require extra funding should be left to the discretion of the staff and administration rather than have those persons seek the approval of school board for making changes.
Green said that if deletions were to occur to the curriculum, the board policy of it needed to approve them should still be in effect and he acknowledged that any programs requiring extra funding would have to come before the school board.
Green also recommended that bus drivers be granted the opportunity to apply for dual capacity full-time positions. He said the issue of dual capacity employees would be revisited at the end of the school year and there was no guarantee that dual capacity employees would be allowed then.
He asked that the fund balance be used to pay any extra overtime costs that come from the dual capacity employees. Currently there are 12 vacant classified positions with in the district.
Green could not give an estimated cost of filling the positions until he knew how many persons might apply for them.
When Fairfield County School District Director of Human Resource Services T.J.Meggett did research, she found the policy was implemented in 2008 as a way for phasing out dual capacity bus drivers. The measure passed by a 4-2 vote with Andrea Harrison and Annie McDaniel voting against and with Danielle Miller, Henry Miller, Bobby Cunningham and Beth Reid voting for it.
Director of Finance for Fairfield County Schools Kevin Robinson informed the board that the district currently has no outstanding debts, so the district requests a general obligation bond resolution that would not exceed $1.2million.
The resolution would make it possible to borrow up to $1.2 million for capital improvement projects throughout the district. Funds could be used for the career center or for the comprehensive high school. The district would have about four years to use those funds. Green said that the cost of a new facility would far exceed $1.2 million but that funds could be used to begin the process.
The resolution passed unanimously provided the funds were directed toward the career center or comprehensive high school with the understanding that Green had latitude to come back before the board to ask for other funding if needed.
District monetary policy was changed to allow budget transfer of money amounts up to $5,000 without needed board approval. That is an increase from the previous policy with a $1,000 limit in hopes that the process becomes more efficient for educators due to less red tape.
Green recommended the approval of second reading on policy GCD regarding vacation days among classified and non-classified personnel. The reading passed unanimously.
In other news:
• Certified stipends were approved by a 4-0-2 vote with McDaniel and Cunningham abstaining.
• Approval was given to transfer funds to FCHS so students could begin using an athletic training program at University of South Carolina.
• Revision was made to a secondary school policy which would now allow schools to assign grades less than 50. Green said that scoring change was to increase the rigor of the classes, noting that a 60 average would be a better measuring stick for credit recovery if a teacher could score a child lower than 60 when needed.
• Fairfield Middle School and Fairfield Central High School student fees remained unchanged from last year.
13 eighth graders have registered for Latin I at FMS.
•Green said that the district will attempt more early intervention in kindergarten students who need help in foundational learning skills. Part-time interventionists will be hired on an as-needed basis to work with those children and they likely will be certified educators many of whom are retired. Title 1 funds as well as Exceptional IDEA funds will pay for the program instead of dipping into the general fund.