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School facility reviews continue

Trustees receive BDK information

Posted: December 16, 2011 4:47 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2011 5:00 a.m.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees received a list of information about Baron DeKalb Elementary School (BDK) as it moved forward with discussion of Phase II of its facilities equalization plan.

The board is reviewing school facilities to compile data for Phase II of the plan.

Other than BDK, the board has reviewed Wateree, Lugoff and Camden elementary schools.

Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Director of Operations Billy Smith said BDK’s construction dates back to 1956, making the school 55 years old. He said areas needing improvement -- according to a 2004 report by Heery Consulting Inc. -- include floors, walls, windows, doors and common areas that are part of the original building. Critical needs include the bringing the school up to building, zoning and fire code compliance, and an HVAC system.

Renovating BDK will be more difficult than other elementary schools, KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said, because of the odd space and location.

No decision will be made for Phase II projects until the school-by-school review -- primarily of those schools not involved in Phase I -- has been completed. Afterward, a preliminary project list with estimated costs will be developed for and approved by the board.

Public meetings will be held for comment, and the board will develop a final proposal for a possible referendum.

Morgan said no timeline has been set, and the process could take as long as two years to complete.

In other business:

• The board was presented with a 2011-12 budget book by KCSD Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson and Tori Smith.

“We’re giving you this package to help you answer any questions you may be asked,” Wilson said.

All the information included in the book will also be uploaded to the KCSD website, Wilson said.

“So if someone wants to see what their school’s budget looks like, they can,” he said.

According to Smith, the budget book will act as a tool to help not only the board, but the public understand the school district’s audit.

“As we roll forward and come together as a community, we want to show the public our funding and how we use it,” she said, “(That includes) where we’re spending the money and how we’re spending the money.”

• John Clinton, a KCSD transportation supervisor for the Lugoff area, thanked the board on behalf of all the KCSD bus drivers in regard to the budget.

“Many of us have been here though good times and not-so-good times,” Clinton said. “The cuts hurt, but we stayed.”

Recently, the board reinstated a 3.5 percent cut back into the drivers’ paychecks.

“Thanks to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Smith for looking out for us,” he said.

• Morgan presented the board with a draft budget survey to begin the process of restoring areas that were reduced or eliminated when the budget was slashed during the economic downturn.

“Now, I don’t see revenue massively increasing, but we may have the opportunity to add things back that we had to cut before,” Morgan said.

Morgan said he plans to ask for feedback using an online survey to get a clear picture of the public’s priorities.

The survey, Morgan said, won’t be used for the board to vote on, but more as a data point.

“We’ll look at what both the public and the staff want to get a broader perspective. Then we’ll bring it back to the board,” Wilson said.

Morgan said he plans to have the results by February.

• The board unanimously adopted the 2012-13 school calendar.

• The board unanimously voted to terminate a teacher for “reasons outlined by the superintendent.” Officials provided no further details.

• Board Chairman Joey Dorton announced he does not plan to seek the chairman position again next year.

“You’ve shown excellent leadership during these turbulent times,” Trustee Mara Jones said to Dorton. “And we appreciate your service to the community.”

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