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Phase II bond referendum options presented

Posted: July 11, 2013 4:53 p.m.
Updated: July 12, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan hopes to present the Kershaw County community with a draft of a Facilities Equalization Program Phase II bond referendum by January.

Morgan presented a draft of two Phase II options during the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees meeting Tuesday night. He said he wants trustees to give him feedback by the beginning of the upcoming school year, August 19, so he can start a second round of community meetings throughout the county after Labor Day.

“I want to keep generating community discussion so that during some point in the school year -- hopefully by January -- we can have a proposal,” he said.

Morgan and KCSD Director of Operations Billy Smith held meetings around the county with various school and civic groups to get an idea of where people in Kershaw County stood on the proposed upgrades and demolitions. With that feedback, which he presented to the board in May, Morgan presented two options. He said a January proposal date would give the district about eight months to put together the community group that would help the district publicize the referendum and rid the community of any “misinformation” about what the bond referendum will include.

Option 1 costs $117.2 million. It includes renovating the Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC); Leslie M. Stover Middle (LMS) renovation/addition; Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS) renovation and athletic facilities upgrades; Wateree Elementary (WES) replacement; Lugoff Elementary (LES) replacement; Camden High School (CHS) renovation and athletic facilities upgrades; Camden Elementary School (CES) replacement on the former Camden Middle School site; a combined North Central area elementary school to replace Bethune, Mt. Pisgah and Baron DeKalb elementary schools; North Central High School (NCHS) renovation and athletic facilities upgrades; and North Central Middle School (NCMS) addition.

Option 2 costs approximately $103.92 million, and includes the ATEC renovation; LMS renovation/addition; L-EHS renovation and athletic facilities upgrades; WES replacement; LES renovation; CHS renovation, Zemp Stadium renovation, and other athletic facilities upgrades; CES renovation; the North Central area elementary school; Baron DeKalb renovation; NCHS renovation and athletic facilities upgrades; and NCMS addition.

Morgan said that after he presented community feedback in May, he began getting calls from community members about renovations to Zemp Stadium. Zemp Stadium renovations are up for discussion, but any conversation would need to include Historic Camden officials, Morgan said, because it owns the land on which the stadium sits. Morgan said any of the options can be mixed and matched, and either option for a North Central area elementary school would call for redrawing attendance areas in the North Central area, including Midway Elementary School.

Board Chair Mara Jones said she liked that that the district has publicized this information through social media and the district’s website. Morgan said district personnel will be working on displaying the pictures of each school and associated recommendations on the district’s website. Jones suggested district personnel add “Frequently Asked Questions,” or FAQ, for the community, especially those concerning the price differences between renovations and replacements.

In other business:

• Jones suggested the board go on a board retreat in the fall. Jones said the last time the board went on a retreat was five years ago. The retreat would be a good time to look at long term goals, she said.  The retreat would be facilitated by Dr. Dempsey Warner, a retired professor from Virginia Tech, who has worked with school boards for about 50 years, Morgan said. Jones also reemphasized the need to encourage district personnel to register and vote in each election; she will help lead the board in showing teachers that their voice matters.

• Morgan reported that the district is in full compliance with the Disabilities Education Act in regard to the district’s special education services. He said that for 10 years, the district poorly met those standards.

• WES special needs teacher and 2013 WES Teacher of the Year Phyllis Cleveland is the director of the Miss Amazing pageant. She will help hold a fundraiser on July 20 in Elgin for the pageant, which will be held in January.

•Smith’s son, Will Smith, was featured on RodeoNews magazine and Will Smith is a L-EHS graduate.

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