(2705) Week of July 6, 2005
One Board approves property leases, personnel
Week of June 29, 2005
special events kick off July 4th weekend
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees unanimously approved several lease agreements, personnel and took their final vote on the $43,792,662 budget for the upcoming school year during their regular monthly meeting June 27.
During the meeting Director of Finance Steve Uldrick reported that year to date revenue amounted to $57,824,651 with expenses amounting to $58,140,693. Uldrick said approximately $5 million coming to the district from Federal projects should be here in the next 30 to 45 days.
He also said that approximately $.5 million in State EIA payments were delayed in Columbia, and should be received by the District later in the week.
Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler reported that test scores will be available for teachers no later than the first day they return to classes in August.
Although the schools will have the test results earlier, they cannot be released publicly until the state says they are releasable, he said.
In his nutritional report, Assistant superintendent David Havird said that the district food program is showing a $364,763 profit. Taking out depreciation and indirect costs of approximatley $100,000, the program will show a profit of $150,000.
Havird said there will be expenses of approximately $120,000 for the food services program at Palmetto Middle School. The upgrade will include new technology, new equipment in the cafeteria, new coolers and freezers, trays and a loading dock.
The board also unanimously approved a District plan for the gifted and talented program.
Following an executive session, the board approved two property leases including a month to month lease of the potato house, located at Midway Rd. and Hwy. 8, and the Williamston ballfields.
The potato house property is being rented to John David Durham for $100 each month.
The District One board also approved a five year lease of ballfields to the Town of Williamston for $1 per year.
The new lease does take the PHS legion field out of the towns lease and leaves the Veterans Monument, which is on the property, under the towns lease. The vote was 4-0 with board member Dale Martin, who works with The Town of Williamston, abstaining.
Upon the recommendation of Superintendent Fowler, the board postponed a vote on a lease involving a parking lot and ball field in West Pelzer.
The board also agreed that the July meeting will be held on August 2 to allow board members to attend a training workshop.
Upon the recommendation of Dr. Fowler, the board approved the following personnel:
Leave of absence - Ali Wienke, Wren High Media Specialist, 6 week maternity and 6 week family medical leave; Kim Groome, Concrete Primary Guidance, 8 week maternity leave; Patty Cannon, Cedar Grove Elementary Resource, 6 week materninty leave.
Resignations - Jonathon Scrivner, Spearman Elementary, Grade 5.
Transfers - Iris Donnan, Powdersville Elementary, LAUNCH, .6 FTE froma .4 FTE postition to a .4 position at Powdersville Elementary.
Joyce Leftwich, Powdersville Elementary LAUNCH, .4 FTE from a .4 FTE position to a .6 FTE position at Powdersville Elementary; Beth Henderson, Cedar Grove Elementary, Computer Lab, from the computer lab position at Cedar Grove to the vacant 5k position at Cedar Grove Elementary.
Recommendations - Jodie Allmon, Wren Middle, Grade 6; Julia Bouldin, Palmetto Middle School band; Jennifer Brock, Cedar Grove Elmentary Grade 2; Cynthia Coleman, Wren Middle School, Grade 6; Melissa Collins, Cedar Grove Elementary, 4K teacher; Tamara Cox, Palmetto Middle Grade 6; Ashley Crocker, Concrete Primary, Grade 2; Lisa Dalrymple, Palmetto High, EMD teacher; Phil Darity, Wren High, Industrial Arts; Tara Jenness, Spearman Elementary, Grade 5;
Also Krista Kalaidjian, Hunt Meadows Elementary, media specialist; Thomas Kupec, Wren High, Guidance; Ansley Merritt, Powdersville Middle, .5 FTE grade 6; Christie Shealy, Palmeto High, Math; Cindi Wiener, Hunt Meadows Elementary, Grade 1; Dr. Eunice Williams, Palmetto Elementary/Pelzer Elementary - Title 1 Instructional Coach and Parent Facilitator; Lisa Wilson, Wren High Spanish.
Administrative Recommendations - Becky Brady, District I Office, Director of Testing and Personnel Services; Mark McCall, Wren Elementary Principal.
By Stan Welch
Concerns about the Southeastern part of the County obtaining access to seed money for various infrastructure and improvements continues to grow, especially in light of two events that took place during the recent Anderson County Council budget process.
District 7 Councilwoman Cindy Wilson tried three times in recent weeks to appropriate $10,000 from the special sewer levy to be used in conducting a feasibility study for construction of a sewer line from Williamston to Honea Path.
Her motions to provide the funding received no second from any of her fellow councilmembers, preventing the issue from even being discussed in open session.
A copy of the request, which was made by the town of Honea Path, says that the line would run from Williamston to Honea Path and eventually to the sewer treatment plant at Ware Shoals.
That plant has a capacity of 8 million gallons a day, and can easily handle the increased capacity, the request said. The request goes on to say that the last time County Council provided such seed money, a grant of $8 million was obtained, and indicates that a similar result is possible in this case.
The project, which is eligible for several grants, would also open up the area between the towns for economic development, Wilson said.
Councilman Larry Greer said one reason he sees for Wilsons inability to bring the issue to the floor is her failure to approach other Council members personally and informally.
The only time I heard about that request was in open session. She should talk to other members and tell them a little about the proposal, like where the funds are expected to come from. If she wanted to obtain the funding during the budget process, it should have come up much earlier in the process. You bring these things up before the meeting, not during the meeting, Greer said.
Councilman Bill Dees echoed those thoughts, saying that he had no previous knowledge of the grant or the fund request until it was raised in open session.
I dont especially like the political aspect of being on Council, but its there. In my four plus years on the Council, Ive never known a back room deal to be made. But I and others do confer with other members to see if we have support for certain issues or votes. Itd be nice to be notified before hand so you have some time to consider these things. For example, Id like to know where the grant is going to come from. What is the proposed source of the funding? I need some details. It doesnt mean I would necessarily vote for it, but Id be a lot more interested in discussing it, Dees said.
Perhaps more importantly, Wilson was unsuccessful in changing the language in a budget amendment offered by Greer during the second reading of the budget, which listed departments to be exempted from budget cuts, and also prohibited the use of paving funds for any other purpose.
Wilson tried at the next reading of the budget to offer an amendment which would have changed the paving fund to the infrastructure fund, allowing for greater flexibility in using the funds to leverage additional money for projects.
For example, an amount of $10,000 could be used as matching funds for a much larger grant from the state or federal government.
Her motion failed for lack of a second, though Wilson said she had the promise of two Council members to provide a second to allow for discussion of the amendment.
Wilson has historically, and she says, necessarily used her paving funds for other purposes.
She says she has been unable to obtain other sources of funding to use in her district.
Traditionally, that end of the County has been ignored by the County for many years. In fact, 4 or 5 years ago, the people in Honea Path were talking about seceding from Anderson County and joining Abbeville County, Wilson said.
Loss of flexibility in her use of paving funds promises to severely restrict her in providing financial assistance to municipalities and organizations in her district.
For example, last year, Wilson appropriated $8,000 from her paving fund to help repair a leaking roof at the West Pelzer Fire Department. Under existing circumstances, that money would be unavailable.
Wilson says the study, which would be conducted by the local engineering firm Dunn & Dunn,would determine the route for the lines.
My understanding is that it would most likely project the lines along existing road right of ways, rather than along stream beds and wetlands Wilson said. That would accomplish two things, I think. It protects the beautiful and sensitive areas and it puts the infrastructure where it is most likely to attract economic development, and thats along the main roads. I think the folks in that part of the county have done a great job of trying to improve the economic situation there, and they deserve to see some of their taxes come back to them for uses like this.
Organizers of the Rai$ing Race in Andersons Amazing Space are looking for contestants, sponsors and volunteers for the event which will take place August 12 and 13.
Volunteers are needed to drive contestants to their tasks and to help in other areas along the race course. Drivers will act as monitors and will not be allowed to help the contestants in any way other than driving, according to organizer Kelly McCorkle.
Corporate sponsorships are still available. A $1,000 sponsorship includes a company logo on the event T-shirts and promotional materials.
The event is being limited to 100 two person teams competing for prizes, according to McCorkle. She said the event is open to contestants of all ages. Teams will pay an entry fee of $300 and can obtain sponsors she said.
The number of teams will be limited and will be accepted on a first come - first in basis.
Participants in the Rai$ing Race will experience what its like to be a contestant firsthand in an event similar to The Amazing Race in which she participated.
There will be various tasks for participants as they obtain clues, and negotiate obstacles that could include detours, roadblocks and pit stops along the way. Participating teams will have the opportunity for prizes and a grand prize, a free trip for two with spending money.
McCorkle said many of the team members who appeared in the Amazing Race Season 7 will be participating in the event.
Already committed are Rob & Amber, Ray & Deanna, Ryan & Chuck, Meredith & Gretchen, Susan & Patrick, Uchenna & Joyce. Other celebrities are expected to attend the event, according to McCorkle, who competed with her boyfriend Ron Young in the reality show race.
For more information on being a sponsor, contestant or volunteer, check the website at www.lesliemazzarafund.com or call 202-250-0509.
Additional details on the after event party which will include food, live entertainment and other activities at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center will be announced soon.
Kelly McCorkle, Miss SC 2002 and a participant in the The Amazing Race is organizing The Rai$ing Race to help raise funds for a memorial to her best friend, Leslie Ann Mazzara, who was murdered, along with her roommate, last October in Napa California.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Leslie Mazzara Fund for a new Calvary Home for Children cottage.
The $43.8 million 2005-2006 budget for Anderson School District One contains several increases over last years budget, with the bulk in upkeep and maintenance, funding for after school programs, adding 15.3 new teachers and salary increases, according to Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler.
The budget shows a $398,939 shortage which will be made up with a 3 mill tax increase if it is approved by the County Board of Education in July.
A 1.55 percent salary increase and a .5 percent local increase for teachers will increase teacher pay to 12 percent above the state minimum.
Substitute teachers will also see a pay increase of $5 per day.
The District is expected to increase student enrollment by approximately 150 students this fall.
Other increases in the budget include an expected health insurance increase of five percent in January and additional funding for national board certification and homebound.
Student supplies and materials are being increased by $2 per student getting the District back to where it was several years ago Dr. Fowler said during a budget workshop.
The District will also continue to fund after school programs which were funded through a grant which is ending.
The programs will be continued by combining summer school funding from the state and a carryover amount from the grant.
The district will be able to continue to provide homework centers 3 or 4 days each week staffed with certified teachers.
Revenues for the 2005/2006 budget are based on 8,099.58 students in grades K5-12. The district weighted per student amount is funded at $10,120.71.
District One has the lowest millage rate of Andersons five school districts, at 105.7.
The others are 153.8; 121.3; 132; and 140.5 respectively.
Dr. Fowler said he expects the County Board of Education to approve the budget at their July meeting.
According to Fowler the value of a mill in District One is set at $130,299.
On a $100,000 house, the 3 mill increase will amount to $12, he said.
The Town of Williamston recently purchased a 2002 Durango which will be used for codes enforcement and possibly other law enforcement activities, according to town spokesperson Joshua Barnes.
The vehicle is being used by Barnes, a Williamston police officer who recently began working as Mayor Phillip Clardys assistant and is also the towns code enforcement officer.
The $16,000 vehicle was purchased after town officials discussed the purchase in an executive session held during the June 6 meeting of Council.
The executive session was called to discuss contractural matters Mayor Phillip Clardy said before leaving the open session of the council meeting and going behind closed doors to discuss town business with councilmembers.
The following week, two councilmembers told The Journal that the purchase of a vehicle was discussed during the executive session and that the discussion was about consideration of purchasing a vehicle with a price of around $6,000 to $7,000 from a local car dealer.
Both Councilmen said they thought the purchase was just in the discussion stage and did not realize that the town had purchased a $16,000 vehicle from an out of town dealer the following week.
Both Councilmen also stated that the mayor told the Council during the executive session that they did not have to discuss the matter in public or vote on it in public because the purchase was to be financed.
The Councilmen received bad advice, according to Bill Rogers, President of the South Carolina Press Association, who said the discussion of the issue in executive session may have been in violation of South Carolina Freedom of Information (FOI) guidelines.
In his opinion, the purchase of a vehicle does not fall under the FOI heading of a contract, Rogers said.
Also whether the purchase is made in cash or by financing with a loan, it is still an expenditure of public funds, Rogers said. The discussion and vote on the purchase should have been made in public, he said.
Mayor Clardy was unavailable for comment.
Barnes said the vehicle will be outfitted with blue lights and other police equipment and will be used for law enforcement purposes.
South Carolina Department of Transportation plans to invest $1.6 million to create two new intersections along Amity Road in Anderson County.
The project will require the relocation of a segment of Amity Road, which is also known as State Road 48, officials said.
The existing intersection of Amity Road and Highway 29 will be reconstructed resulting in two T-type intersections. One intersection will be located on the south side of Hwy. 29 near Eureka Baptist Church and the other on the north side of Hwy. 29.
SCDOT plans to widen Hwy. 29 to three lanes between these two intersections. Left turn lanes will be added to help ease the traffic congestion.
The need for traffic signals will be evaluated after construction is completed and traffic patterns can be assessed.
SCDOTs 2004 traffic counts show 12,600 vehicles travel the Anderson County portion of Hwy. 29 daily and 2,500 vehicles travel on Amity Road each day. The road change is expected to help the traffic flow.
I am pleased that the intersection of Amity Road and Hwy. 29 is now on the SCDOTs list for improvement, said Gracie S. Floyd, Anderson County Council Chairperson, District 2.
SC DOT has worked diligently with Anderson County and me over the years to develop a plan for improvement. Now, it appears as if it is finally going to happen.
SCDOT will acquire new rights of way along 17 tracts of land for the construction. Acquisitions are planned for the first half of 2006. Contractor bids will be accepted between August and September 2006.
Construction is planned from January to August 2007. SC DOT expects to add more than 2,000 feet of pavement along Hwy. 29 and approximately 1,000 feet along Amity Road.