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More than money

School volunteer hours, donations rise significantly

Posted: August 4, 2011 3:59 p.m.
Updated: August 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County School District (KCSD) received $1.7 million worth of donated volunteer hours and items during the 2010-11 academic year, according to a Partners in Education report.

During Tuesday evening’s Kershaw County Board of School Trustees meeting, ATEC Careers/Education Economic Development Coordinator Ed Garrison said the number of volunteer hours received by the school district increased dramatically last year, from 30,576 hours during the 2009-10 academic year to 61,299 hours during the 2010-11 year. Business and volunteer hours are valued at $25 per hour.

“We record instances when people come into the schools and volunteer their time, but we also include instances where the students go out into the workplace -- this would be your work-based learning, your shadowing, your internships,” he said, adding that more than 1,000 middle school students went out into the workplace with their relatives during the school district’s annual job shadowing day. “This is also considered an in-kind contribution by the businesses.”

The total amount of donated items – which was valued at $168,247 -- included everything from dictionaries donated by the Rotary Club to equipment, snacks and snacks donated to the schools, Garrison told trustees.

Scholarship awards

KCSD Executive Director of Secondary Education Dr. Agnes Slayman gave the board an update on the amount of scholarships awarded to 2011 graduates, as well as information about the recent summer school session.

Last year’s graduates received nearly $5.3 million in scholarship awards. Regarding why there was a drop of nearly $1.4 million in scholarship awards from 2009-10 academic year to 2010-11 academic year, Slayman said there were no military appointment scholarships awarded last year.

“There’s also probably another reason we talked about with the principals for the drop in the money, and that’s the economy,” she said. “When things get tight, foundations get tight and competitions for scholarships get greater.”

Slayman said this year’s summer school, which is self-sustaining and at no cost to the district, enrolled 156 students -- a decrease of 106 students from the previous year.

She attributed the decrease to the fact that schools have been able to “catch the students early” through the credit recovery A+ program, and the offering of the virtual high school program.

“And then, the third thing that we think affected enrollment and impacted it, is the economy. A lot of our parents can’t afford that. We try to give some scholarships, but they’re limited as well to kids who can’t afford it,” she said.

However, Slayman also said she was pleased to see the number of summer school high school graduates increase from 29 to 42 students this year.

“That mean that our graduation rate has not fallen off and we really believe that we are being better able to meet our kids’ needs,” she said. “Hopefully, this will get smaller and the graduating class will go up.”

In other news, the board reviewed suggested changes to its staff conduct policy, in light of the increasing use of technology and social networking by employees.

The school board also voted to use Lugoff-Elgin High School’s old stadium light poles to light the school’s practice field, as well as North Central High School’s practice field. The installation of all four poles is estimated to cost $18,000 and will be funded by leftover money from the construction project to renovate the former Lugoff-Elgin Middle School.

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