News Archive

(1706) Week of Apr 26, 2006

Festival committee officially organized
DHEC officials hear facts of water line enforcement issue
Water line agreement causes problems
Council looks at letter issue, tax increase mentioned
Forum draws comments from crowd of candidates
Piedmont approves first reading on 2007 budget
County project priorities may be readjusted
District One readies for end of year testing

Festival committee officially organized

A volunteer committee has officially formed to organize the Spring Water Festival for 2006. A group of 13 people met last Thursday and decided to organize as the Spring Water Committee to oversee the Spring Water Festival held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park in August. The group is in the process of obtaining a non-profit charter from the state.

The committee is comprised of individuals who have been involved in the Spring Water Festival through the years and new volunteers. The festival will celebrate its 25th year this year and will be held on Saturday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

David Meade was named chairman and Steve Ellison was named co-chair of the Spring Water committee. Jimmy Barnes was named treasurer; Barbara Davis, secretary; James Riddle, food; Ellen Harvell, crafts, Thomas Addison, artwork; Mark Pitts, souvenirs; Catlin Tierce, entertainment/gospel stage; Jack Ellenburg, bluegrass stage; Dianne Lollis, displays/entertainment. Applications for food and craft vendors are expected to be mailed out this week.  Anyone interested in helping with this year’s festival is invited to attend a meeting this Thursday, April 27 at 7 p.m. at the Williamston Fire Department.

Council looks at letter issue, tax increase mentioned

By Stan Welch

The ratio of good news to bad in regards to Williamston’s financial condition is beginning to turn ever so slightly. There were a couple of encouraging signs which surfaced during the budget work session Wednesday, April 19.

For starters, Joe Newton, the ACOG representative who has been guiding the town’s recovery efforts, said that the possibility of using a tax anticipation note (TAN) instead of issuing a general obligation bond in order to borrow money could come into play. The importance of that lies in the fact that the TAN would mean that the Town had borrowed less money for a shorter term than a general obligation bond would entail.

“If we can continue to cut expenses, we may be able to take the lesser of two evils,” said Newton. “That is encouraging.”

Another piece of good news is that the State has agreed to delay an action against the Town so long as court fine payments and records are kept current. “If they are not, they can send a state auditor down here, which would put a great deal of pressure on the town, and could lead to a freezing of state funds to the Town,” said Newton.

Newton also stated that “On paper, the general fund is now balanced for 2006, as long as nothing breaks. What that means is basically diddly. It means we have a plan, and if we stick to it we won’t get in any worse trouble. That’s all it means.”

Newton also reminded the council that a tax increase will have to be implemented in August. To that end, he presented the Council with a form to be used in advertising that tax increase and the public hearings that accompany the action. The advertising of the public hearings could begin as early as within the next three weeks.

Police Chief David Baker reported that his department is now officially down to 15 employees. That reduction in force has impacted the department’s dispatch operations, and the Town is exploring the possibility of turning those duties over to the county’s Central Dispatch. Baker stated that the cost of doing so could be as high as $38-$40,000 in equipment costs and salary for a dispatcher for the town.

Newton said that he had spoken with both County Administrator Joey Preston and Emergency Services Director Tommy Thompson, and both men had pledged to work with the Town in any way possible to ease and achieve the transition in services.

A transfer of approximately $173,000 was made from the general fund to the water and sewer fund, which had been coming up short. “This is a proper and legal method of balancing that budget, again assuming that nothing breaks and the RDA grant for the plant’s upgrades comes in as expected,” said Newton.

Newton then addresses what he called The Letter. Newton, who has helped a number of small towns in the upstate with similar financial troubles, normally issues a letter to the citizens of those towns, explaining the financial situation, as well as the steps necessary to resolve it. He had said that he would do so in Williamston as well. He did not, and much confusion and suspicion has resulted, continuing to this day.

Newton took full responsibility for the confusion, but stressed that the intention of the promised letter was never to assign blame or tell where the money went. “I am not a CPA, nor a prosecutor. I not only never intended to issue such a letter, I would refuse to do so, simply because that is neither my job or my area of expertise.”

Newton said that the reason he didn’t issue the letter was that the letter’s purpose of informing the citizens seemed to be moot. “Everyone in Williamston seemed fully aware of the circumstances. I accept full responsibility for holding up the letter, but frankly, it seemed unnecessary to me.”

He added, “There has not been thievery. No one has sent money to a bank in the Cayman Islands. If I thought this situation resulted from something illegal or terribly unethical, I wouldn’t be here talking to you. Where did the money go? I would tell you that it got spent. “

 

DHEC officials hear facts of water line enforcement issue

Information presented during an enforcement conference concerning a questionable water line run to a home located just outside the town limits of West Pelzer led to a decision by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) that the line must be replaced or abandoned.

Former and present officials of the Town of West Pelzer attended the enforcement conference in Columbia on April 5 to answer questions concerning alleged violations of an improperly constructed water line.

DHEC officials interviewed town officials and the property owner being served by the line, to determine if the line was constructed without a permit and placed into operation without receiving final approval to operate outside the town.

The conference was set up to provide Lee Atkins of 273 Holiday St., West Pelzer the opportunity to discuss the alleged violations with DHEC officials.

An enforcement conference is a voluntary informal meeting with EQC staff where information is presented to make a fair and sound decision concerning the allegations. The Office of Environmental Quality Control  identifies the law or regulation EQC believes was violated, and invites the responsible party to attend.

There are four possible outcomes: It is determined there is not a violation and is dismissed; the violation is properly alleged, but there is justification to resolve the matter without the issuance of an order; the violation is properly alleged and the opportunity to settle the issue by entering into a consent order with the department; or there is disagreement on the violation and/or issues, but the department believes the matter must still be addressed and an administrative order is issued.

Attending the conference were West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton, West Pelzer Town Attorney Carey Murphy, Chris Eleazer of DHEC Region 1 Anderson, Justin Butler, DHEC Construction Engineer, Karen Ramos, SCDHEC Enforcement, Doug Kinard, SCDHEC Enforcement, Brad West West Pelzer Sewer Department and Michael Mahaffey, West Pelzer Water Department.

Also attending were property owner Lee Atkins, former West Pelzer Mayors Bud Brown and Bill Alexander, and Mark Vickery, former town employee

During the meeting, Atkins stated that the town installed the line. Former Mayor Bud Brown stated the it was voted on and approved by the mayor and council that Atkins could pay for the materials and the town would install the line. Former Mayor Bill Alexander also said this was the agreement.

Mark Vickery, who was over the town’s water and sewer department at the time, told DHEC that he had installed the line.

According to Atkins, DHEC officials then told the town officials that they have to pay for engineering fees and reinstallation of the line to meet current standards. The line is on a hill and has washed, Atkins said.

At that point, Atkins said he told DHEC, “I am fed up with the whole thing.” He also informed them that he has two other sources for water.

According to Atkins, DHEC officials then said that if he had another water source and it was OK with the Town of West Pelzer, the town could abandon the line and have no additional expenses. If Atkins wanted the line, the town would have to upgrade to new DHEC standards at the town’s expense.

The DHEC findings of fact statement said that the Town had installed the line without a permit; that the line was placed into operation without final DHEC approval; and that the line was improperly constructed.  The letter went on to state that civil penalties of $5000 per day per violation, or a total of $15,000 a day, could be levied for each day of the violations.

Atkins said the line was installed in 1996 and was put into use when he built his home on Holiday St. in 1999.

According to Atkins, during the DHEC meeting, DHEC’s Anderson representative pointed out a situation in which West Pelzer attempted to install a main 8” line on Main St., only after he rode by and stopped the work, did the town get the permit and an engineer. The meeting then turned to other problems the town has had since Paxton has been mayor.

As of this week, DHEC spokesman Thom Berry said no final decision has been issued. A consent order defining the terms of the agreement will be issued following a review of the evidence and information received at the enforcement conference.

 West Pelzer officials said that Atkins has notified the town clerk that the line can be disabled now.

Water line agreement causes problems

By Stan Welch

 A water line installed to a private residence outside the West Pelzer town limits several years ago continues to cause problems, despite a recent meeting with DHEC officials to resolve the issues related to that line.

The line runs to Atkins residence just over 300 yards outside the town limits, was approved by the Town Council under former Mayor Bud Brown’s administration. That Council included Atkins father, who also voted to allow the installation of the line.

A thorough review of the Town’s records reveals no minutes reflecting an official vote of the Council to accept the arrangement; however, a letter provided last summer when the question arose again indicates that the deal was approved by Council. Bill Alexander, a Councilman at that time, wrote that he was on Council when “Lee Adkins ask (sic) Mayor and Council if he could run water lines to his home on Holiday Street. He stated he would pay all cost doing so. Lee paid for all digging & grading & a water meter in his yard to show how much water he used.” The letter went on to say that the town had been told by Atkins that they could use the line to tap onto if they ever needed to, and it confirmed that the Mayor and Council gave Lee permission to do what he did without any cost for the water used.

In the circumstances under state law where such an installation is allowed, it is mandatory that the customer bears all costs and that the town has full control of any future taps. In addition, it is customary that all pertinent fees, such as tap fees, be paid, and it is required that the water used is paid for. State law prohibits the supplying of water at no cost.

Last June, during the installation of a blowout valve in the line that fed Atkins’ home, the crew doing the work left Atkins’ line disconnected, because it was presumed to be unauthorized. Atkins appeared at Town Hall to question why his water had been cut off, leading eventually to a special called meeting to deal with the problem. At that meeting, Bud Brown and others, including Atkins’ father, confirmed Atkins’ claim that he had been given permission to do what he did.

The current Town Council, after receiving legal advice from the town attorney that the original deal was in violation of town ordinances, voted last year to allow Atkins to pay the monthly minimum for water over a 5 year period, and waived any tap fees. Atkins was also required to begin paying for the water he used. While the agreement was being drawn up by the town attorney, an annual DHEC inspection of the Town’s water system was conducted and a town employee reportedly mentioned the Atkins arrangement.

DHEC subsequently investigated and in a letter dated March 17, 2006 informed Atkins of the alleged violations as follows: the installation of the line without a permit; failure to receive final approval before putting the line into operation; and improper construction of the line. The notice of violation, or NOV, also stated that each of the three alleged violations could result in a fine of $5000 per day per violation.

DHEC scheduled an enforcement conference on April 5 of this year. According to Mayor Peggy Paxton, who was present, it was at that conference that Atkins, for the first time, claimed that the line was installed by city employees. “I thought the Town Attorney was going to have a heart attack right there on the table,” said the Mayor. “That was the first we had heard about that.”

Paxton says there is no record of any such installation by the Town. “We can find no work order to that effect,” said the mayor during a recent telephone interview.  “But that’s not surprising, since we can’t even find any minutes that show the vote to let him put the line in.”

There has been some question as to when the line was installed. 

She added that if Bud Brown was Mayor at the time the agreement was reached, it had to have been more than seven years ago; she has been mayor for three years, and Bill Alexander was mayor for four years prior to her election.

Paxton also confirmed that the 800,000 gallons of water which Atkins reportedly received free of charge is a metered count from the meter that was in the line.  “We still have that meter with his name on it. That is the amount he received,” said the Mayor. She said any claims that the Town is trying to charge Atkins for the total of water lost during the time in question are simply untrue.

Following the DHEC conference, the current Town Council voted to rescind the agreement reached last summer. They also voted to release Atkins from any obligation to pay for the water used.

Despite advice from Town Attorney Carey Murphy to the Council that forgiving the debt was “in contradiction to the Town’s ordinances” Councilman Joe Turner, who was also on the Council that made the original deal, made the motion not to charge Atkins for the water.

“I just feel like we gave him permission. We shouldn’t charge him for the water he used,” said Turner in making the motion.

Mayor Paxton reports that DHEC has agreed to let the matter basically drop, so long as Atkins finds another source of water, such as a well or Big Creek Water Company.

DHEC spokesman Thom Berry, however, says no final decision has been issued. A consent order defining the terms of the agreement will be issued following a review of the evidence and information received at the enforcement conference. Paxton says it should arrive any day now.

She adds that Atkins has notified the town clerk that the line can be disabled now. 

Forum draws comments from crowd of candidates

By Stan Welch

The Anderson County Republican Women held a candidate forum Monday night, and the candidates came by the dozens, or at least a dozen and a half.

Every incumbent Councilmember was on hand except for Fred Tolly, who isn’t seeking reelection from District One, and Democratic incumbent from District Two, Gracie Floyd.

There were also plenty of challengers on hand. District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson faces Julia Barnes in the June 13 primary. Also attending were the Democratic challenger to Wilson, Ed Jean and Bob Austin, whom Wilson defeated for the District Seven seat in the last two elections.

Wilson appeared to clearly be the favorite incumbent among the crowd. One candidate for District Six called her a hero, referring to what he called the many attacks on her by others. For her part, Wilson reinforced her well established belief that greater fiscal accountability is the key to greater efficiency and lower costs. When asked which tax relief plan she supported, she said her plan had already been killed. She referred to proposed legislation that would require each county to have a forensic audit every three years. “That kind of accountability would make tax relief a natural result.”

 Barnes said that she thinks it’s time for a change, that a roadblock has been reached between Wilson and county administrator Joey Preston. “This is about issues, not personalities,” she said. She cited what she called a high rate of abstaining votes by Wilson, saying that she figured the number at 11.5%. “I will vote one way or another, that I promise,” said Barnes. She supported the idea of property tax relief.

District Six, which is one of the fastest growing areas in the County, if not the state, will be contested by incumbent Bill Dees, state Board of Education member Ron Wilson, and political newcomer Rick Fremantle.

Dees continued his attention to public safety issues, adding that he is concerned that employees have not had a raise in two years, except for those who receive longevity increases. Fremantle praised Cindy Wilson, calling her a hero, and saying that he is running because he sees the heart of Anderson County being destroyed.

Ron Wilson said he decided to surrender his seat on the State Board of Education, because, “If we can’t clean up Anderson county, you can forget about cleaning up that crowd in Columbia and Washington.”

In District One, former State Senator Bob Waldrep will face Francis Crowder and Steve Lovelace in the June 13 primary. Waldrep showed flashes of the humorous, casual campaign style that he is known for, as well as making some serious points. Those included his belief that the budget process should involve getting down to the bare bones and really finding out what the facts are, and his opposition to discretionary funds, such as the paving and recreational accounts currently maintained by each councilmember.

Crowder pledged that he would not rubber stamp budgets, citing his expertise in designing accounting software that is used in creating and monitoring budgets that ranged from $1 million to $500 million dollars. Lovelace was not present.

District Two candidate Marshall Mitchell faces no opposition in the primary. He spoke briefly, stating that he will be an advocate for the citizenry, supporting honest open government, and pursuing economic development.

District Three incumbent, current Council Chairman Larry Greer, again expressed his “mandate from the people of district Three” to return a larger portion of the available funds to that district. “When I was elected my district had no sewer lines. Now we have the Iva- Starr sewer line. I’m of the opinion that if the pie is going to be cut, my people should get a piece of it.”

He also stated that he supported the opportunity for the people to decide if they want the proposed one cent sales tax to use for roads and infrastructure. He added that without money available from the State Infrastructure Bank, he would not support the tax.

His opponent, Matthew Hilley, said that he believed that, with a return to true fiscal conservatism, the roads could be addressed without raising taxes. He also said that he would not turn his back on his party, his district or his faith, an apparent reference to Greer’s recent announcement of Council meetings that he had prayed in his office.

District Four incumbent Bill McAbee will face Randy Price and Joe Renna in the primary. McAbee described himself as a conservative voice for the people and a watchdog. “I have opposed every tax increase that has been proposed since my election,” he said.

Randy Price pointed out that the District Two School board, on which he serves, has reduced millage for the last two years. “We need to work on infrastructure, but we also need to review where we’re headed as a county, and to make sure that’s where we want to go.” He also promised open, honest government.

Joe Renna decried the “way that government in Anderson County has turned on its people. “He talked about a recent incident where Chief of Detectives Tim Busha, of the ACSO, braced talk show host Rick Driver on the air, making several comments that many have described as intimidating. He also said he had made a mistake when he voted for Bill Dees when Renna lived in District Six.

In District Five, the field is crowded, with incumbent Michael Thompson facing three challengers in the primary. Thompson defended his record as a conservative, saying that he voted no on tax increases twice, thereby remaining true to his campaign pledge. He also touted his role in helping obtain more than a million dollars in federal funds for road and bridge repair in his district.

David Cothran said he hoped to make a positive difference, while former Council member Mike Holden said that the budget seemed to be getting out of control. “It was $93 million two years ago, and now it’s $111 million.” Holden pledged to support open and honest government.

Skip Gilmer thinks that lowering taxes and attracting businesses are the keys to the county’s financial well being.

Piedmont approves first reading on 2007 budget

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners discussed grants and held first reading on the 2007 budget during their regular monthly meeting Monday.

The new budget is based on total income of $1,160,637 and expenses of $1,154,908, for a surplus of $5,729 surplus.

The board unanimously approved a raise of $1,000 across the board for district personnel. To allow for the raise, a person leaving the department will not be replaced and two men will shift duties to compensate for the leaving employee.

Terrry Yates will cover as a dispatcher and another employee will become an engineer. The budget includes expected property tax revenues of $976,609, sewer and light revenue of $140,443 and special account recreation revenue of $43,585. (Complete budget comparison figures will be in the next issue of The Journal).

Commissioner Al McAbee opened the meeting.

There was some discussion about allowing a subcontractor without adhering to the district policy of requiring liability insurance and workers compensation. The item was tabled for later discussion.

District Administrator Butch Nichols reported that windows and doors put in  the community building were the number expected. He also reported that the County Redevelopment Board was paying for additional work on the roof and a shed.

Nichols reported that a state sewer grant for $29,500 was coming to the district. The grant will pay for sewer lines to be inspected and cleaned.

The district has also requested  $5,000 from Anderson County. District Six Council representative Bill Dees is expected to present a check soon. The funds will be used for swings, picnic shelters and a storage building at the park.

Nichols told commissioners that Western Carolina Sewer Authority is waiting to hear from the district about an intergovernmental agreement. If not signed, Western Carolina could refuse to accept sewer flow from future developments, Nichols said.

It was reported that the District is still waiting on a tax payment from Metalcraft. 

There was some discussion about storm water runoff and whether the District needed to pay a notice from Greenville County. Nichols said  he will check with other special districts to see if they are paying the bill. Municipal property in Greenville County is not taxed, but is billed for the runoff fee, Nichols said.

Commissioner Al McAbee reported the district answered a total of 55 calls.

McAbee said the fire department responded to 5 structure fires, 6 grass fires, 2 vehicle accidents, 28 medical calls, 10 sewer calls, and 4 other service calls.

Commissioner Frankie Garrett asked about limbs which are being stacked on property near Main St. Nichols said he will have them removed.

After a brief executive session to discuss personnel, commissioners returned for first reading on the 2007 budget.

Before reading the budget, it was announced that the fire chief salary was set at $51,171 with 35 days of vacation.  The board also approved an across the board raise for district personnel instead of a percentage. First reading on the budget was unanimously approved.

After the vote, Commissioner McAbee said that the district will have to look at a possible increase in millage in the future. He said the district will have to look at the fire, sewer and recreation.

“We can’t depend on growth to come in and increase revenue,” McAbee said. He said that a mill is about $4 on a houshold assessed at $100,000.

Secretary Craig Lawless said that there will also be a drop in revenue from car taxes. The meeting adjourned.

During the March 20 meeting, sealed bids for the lawn maintenance contract were opend. Commissioners voted 3-1 to award the contract to Cutting Edge Inc., because they have a class III chemical license, a requirement by the state for contractors using pesticides for landscaping purposes.

During that meeting discussion included hiring a ballpark custodian and insurance requirements, community building doors and windows, the state sewer grant, the county grant, and the Western Carolina intergovernmental agreement. The Metalcraft issue was also briefly discussed.

County project priorities may be readjusted

By Stan Welch

Beset by confusion over the lack of firm information about the State Infrastructure Bank’s (SIB) intentions, the Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission declined to send a recommendation up to the County Council in time for first reading at the May 2 meeting.

The confusion appears to stem from several sources, including the panel’s original commission to designate and prioritize several road projects to be funded by a proposed one cent sales tax to be charged in Anderson County for the next seven years. The SIB was originally expected to award a grant in the amount of $150 million to be used by the County, which would provide a thirty-five per cent match.

The tax was projected to generate approximately $131 million over the seven years. Of that amount, approximately $83.5 million was to serve as the thirty five-percent match. The remaining funds in the approximate amount of $8 million would be used for local projects.

The application to the SIB for the grant essentially committed the County to the top three projects, which would include a $100 million widening of Highway 24 to five lanes from I-85 to Hwy. 187; the widening of Hwy. 76 to five lanes from Honea Path to Hwy 25 in Greenville County; and a similar widening of Hwy. 247 from Belton to Hwy. 25 in Greenville County.

Recent indications from the SIB, which was expected by county staff to have rendered a decision on the funding amounts in February, are that the best the County can hope for is a grant of $100 million. A grant of fifty million or even no grant at all are also possibilities.

Much of the problem stems from the hurried nature of the County’s efforts to obtain the funds. The County investigated the possibility of SIB funds more than a year ago, and was told that none would be forthcoming. The County Council acknowledged that notice at its 2005 retreat, when the question of a sales tax for infrastructure was put aside, based on the information available at that time.

Later that year, State Representative Ronnie Townsend informed the County that they did indeed have an opportunity to seek SIB funding. By that time, there was no time to spare. An application for the grant was put together and submitted and the Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission was formed earlier this year. After several meetings, the Commission had put together a project list in three parts.

First, the top three projects mentioned above would be funded and completed over the course of the sales tax’s seven year life.

The second list would be the prioritized projects that could be completed with the approximate $50 million balance left from the tax proceeds after the County met its matching fund obligations.

Thirdly was the wish list, which would include all projects that could be funded under the most optimistic circumstances.

In addition to concerns continuing to grow over the SIB’s failure to commit to the grant, SCDOT Resident Maintenance Engineer Bobby Patterson appeared at the April 25 meeting of the Commission with some significant questions concerning how the commission had selected the projects that it had. He cited traffic counts for several roads that he clearly considered more important than both the Belton and Honea Path projects.

He referred to Clemson Boulevard, which carries from 26-32,000 cars a day; Whitehall Road, which carries 12-15,000 cars a day, and Concord Road, which carries 12,000 cars day.

By comparison, he said that the stretch of Hwy. 76 proposed for widening carries about 2200 cars a day, with the Belton stretch of Hwy. 247 carrying approximately the same number. “We need to rethink some of these things,” said Patterson, who also pointed out that the stretch of Hwy. 178 from the Hwy. 28 Bypass to I-85 carries 16,000 cars a day.

 Rutt Riddle, who represents the Powdersville and Piedmont areas on the commission said it was his understanding  that the commission’s job was to take care of the County, and the State would take care of the State.

 Holt Hopkins, the County Director of Transportation, said that the entire process had been a race, due to the timing of the events. He also added, “This can’t just be about engineering. It’s also about what the people want. We have to be able to pass the sales tax or there won’t be any funds.”

That political aspect of the project has been openly acknowledged from the start. Conscious and persistent efforts have been made by the Commission to “spread it around”, as the saying has been. It has been an accepted fact from the comments of the various members in open session that every part of the County must benefit or at least appear to benefit in order to have a chance of passing the sales tax.

In addition to concerns that the amount of funding might be reduced by the SIB, timing has again come to the fore. Once Council is presented with a recommendation, it must receive three readings to pass.  The referendum question must then be approved by the US Department of Justice (USDOJ).

Under ideal circumstances, that takes a minimum of 60 days. Any problem can kick in another 60 day cycle, effectively dooming the referendum for this election cycle. Indications are that Anderson County’s opportunities in the next cycle will be slim, if any at all.

To meet the already tight schedule that those factors establish, the referendum recommendation should have been approved Tuesday by the Commission and placed on the agenda for the following Tuesday’s Council meeting.

The commission, after considerable discussion and legal consultation, decided to wait until Chairman Rusty Burns could travel to Columbia Wednesday and seek a clearer indication of the SIB’s intentions.

Said Burns, “I just think we need more information than we have. We really don’t know what we are voting on. I think it’s possible we could be a lot smarter in a couple of days.”

Hopkins supported the decision, saying, “I’m very disappointed in the SIB, because we were told we’d have an answer two months ago. But I’d rather take the chance of missing this election cycle, and maybe our chances to get any funding than to do this anyway but the right way.”

The panel voted to delay their recommendation until they meet next Monday to hear from Burns.

District One readies for end of year testing

During their regular monthly meeting April 25, Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard reports on testing, food services and approved personnel recommendations.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler told Board members preparations and training are underway to administer  PACT and ASAP testing. 32,000 test booklets were distributed to schools in the District.

Fowler said there was an “elaborate program to pull off testing and it won’t end until graduation.” Fowler said the District is using every instructional day possible leading up to the testing.

He also reported that Anderson District One is administering one end of course Biology test online.

Fowler said the online testing provides immediate feedback and that the state is headed in the direction of online testing. He said he expects online testing to be mandated soon and that the current computer testing being done by the District is experimental.

He also said that even though the district has a number of computers, “it would be tough to pull off” considering the number of students  who would be computer tested.

Assistant Superintendent David Havird reported that the food services program had revenues of $379,715 and expenses of $307,114 for a monthly profit of $72,601. Year to date profit for the program stands at $353,552 which Havird said is “quite a bit ahead of the previous year.” The program continues to serve a record number of meals to students.

Havird also reported that a Breakfast in the Classroom program at Pelzer Elementary has 100 percent participation with 135 students taking advantage of eating free nutritional breakfast each morning.

The Board unanimously approved second reading on seven policies covering EFSOL, nondiscrimination, administering medicines to students, individual health care plan and first aid and emergency care.

Following a brief executive session, the board unanimously approved personnel recommendations at the request of Dr. Fowler.

Approved were: Leave of absence - Libby Holliday, Wren High, Social Studies.

Resignations - Amy Brady, Palmetto Middle School, TMD teacher; Leslie Caldwell, Palmetto Middle School, Grade 6 teacher; Erin Drago, Wren High English; Christie Dunson, Wren High, English; Leigh Haltiwanger, Wren Middle Grade 8 Math; Gwen Hyer, Hunt Meadows, guidance; Cynthia James, Concrete Grade 1; Katie Lathan, Wren Middle, Grade 8 Math; Erin Meece, Hunt Meadows, Speech.

Also Bryan Ramey, Wren High, Math; Janet Simmons, Hunt Meadows, Grade 1; and Christie Wright, Spearman, Art.

Recommendations - Paula Brock, Palmetto High, English; Guilford Cade, Palmetto High, Physical Education/weightlifting; Sheila Cleveland, Palmetto Elementary, Music, Alisa Ellenburg, Grade 6; Mary Kristen Jeffcoat, Wren Middle, Media Specialist; and Jacqueline Journell, Wren High Special Education.

Also Daniel McGlorhorn, Wren High, Scocial Studies; Amy Montgomery, Palmetto Middle Language Arts/Social Studies; Kathy Perry, District Strings teacher; Bobby Rollins, Wren Middle, Language Arts/Social Studies; Brandy Rollins, Palmetto High, Social Studies.

A budget work session followed the regular meeting. 

Dr. Fowler and Havird presented information anticipating growth in the district of approximately 230 new students. Fowler is asking the Board to consider funding for 12.7 full time staff and 2 support staff to meet the growth needs of the District’s  schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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