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Morgan discusses KCSD 'areas of concern'
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Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan found three “areas of concern” that would affect plans for the 2012-2013 school year. Morgan discussed those concerns with the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees at its meeting Tuesday.

Staffing for the band program at Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS), funding for non-revenue extracurricular activities and the removal of an administrator at Camden Middle School (CMS) are all issues Morgan said the community brought to him. The district will look into hiring a part-time position for L-EHS, which has approximately 120 marching band students and 200 concert band students.

Morgan said he is also looking to decrease the number of fundraisers related to extracurricular activities. Morgan said students “have ‘Krispy-Kremed’ the community to death” in order to raise funds for activities. The district used to provide funds to every high school’s non-revenue-producing extracurricular and sports programs, but stopped when the district had to make its first round of budget cuts when the economy soured.

Also, the KCSD and the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) are in the process of a discussing the removal of School Resource Officers (SROs) from schools within the city of Camden -- Camden High School (CHS), CMS and the Continuous Learning Center. Morgan said the community has concerns because the district planned to move CMS’s assistant principal to Jackson School due to Jackson’s enrollment increases, instead of hiring a new administrator. Currently, Jackson doesn’t have an assistant principal. At the board meeting, Morgan said the Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) had its SRO removed earlier this year due to constraints on the sheriff’s office. Although Morgan also has concerns with the removal of resource officers, he “hope(s) to come (up) with a solution that works for everyone.”

Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said after looking at his budget and ways to provide assistance to more than 60,000 people in the county, he needs to use his resources more wisely. The three schools fall within the Camden Police Department’s jurisdiction, Matthews said in a telephone interview. Matthews said he sent word to city officials that he would like to stop providing resource officers to city of Camden schools. Those officials did not respond, he said.

“We need them in the schools, but it’s just a sign of the times. We’ve got our hands full in other area. Our officers are saturated,” Matthews said. “(The) city of Camden should step up and assume their responsibilities.”

Matthews said he wasn’t sure if the grant his office currently receives to provide SROs fully or partially covers the cost and was uncertain as to whether the city would be able to find a similar grant. Camde Police Chief Joe Floyd referred comment to City Manager Kevin Bronson, who did not return a call seeking comment before deadline.

Morgan said the SRO, fundraising and staffing issues are items he would like to address in the budget, which the board is looking to adopt by its May 8 or May 22 board meetings.

FEP Phase II recommendations

For most of the school year, the school board has reviewed facilities that will need to be replaced or renovated through Phase II of the district’s Facilities Equalization Program. The following recommendations have been made:

Elementary Schools:

• Replace Wateree Elementary School (on same site).

• Renovate or replace Lugoff Elementary School (on same site) or build a combined school to replace Lugoff and Wateree elementary schools (on Wateree Elementary site).

• Renovate or replace Camden Elementary School (possibly on the old CMS site on Laurens Street).

• Renovate or replace Baron DeKalb Elementary School (on same site).

• Renovate or replace Bethune Elementary School (on same site).

• Renovate or replace Mt. Pisgah Elementary School (on same site)

Another suggestion is to build a new school adjacent to North Central Middle School that would combine two or all three of Baron DeKalb, Bethune and Mt. Pisgah elementary schools to serve the northern area.

Middle Schools:

• Add two science labs and two special needs classrooms at North Central Middle School.

• Convert three existing classrooms into science labs at Stover Middle School.

High Schools:

• Renovate ATEC

• Renovate CHS (including Athletic Complex needs).

• Renovate L-EHS (including auditorium and athletic complex needs).

Trustees immediately moved Tuesday to eliminate the option to renovate Wateree Elementary School due to the cost similarities between upgrades and replacing the school. The district will price all of the listed recommendations throughout the summer in order to present the information to all participating schools. The meetings will include photo slides, formerly presented to the board by Director of Operations Smith, to get feedback on proposed facility upgrades. Morgan is adamant about getting community feedback from parents and civic groups and governmental bodies before a formal referendum. The meetings will most likely start in the West Wateree area and move north.

Morgan said publicly educating the community so that they “develop a sense of ownership” over the proposed plans is the “the key to getting (referendum) support.” 

In other business:

• The board unanimously voted to allow Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) to use four classes in the annex at L-EHS for night classes during the 2012-2013 school year. 

“It’s a win-win,” Morgan said, before he recommended approval.

Classes will benefit the surrounding areas and well as Kershaw County high school students. CCTC will provide their own on-site security during school use and will work with Smith to make facility upgrades as needed to provide academic instruction. The college will be required to pay for all necessary upgrades. According to a letter of request from CCTC President Dr. Time Hardee, the college will use L-EHS facilities from 5:30- 9:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. CTCC currently uses its downtown Camden campus, located on Little Street, and a new campus location at Exit 98.

• The Upchurch & Jowers All-Academic Team banquet will be held Monday at 6:30.

• The Teacher of the Year award banquet will be held April 30 at 7 p.m. at CHS; the State Teacher of the Year will be held on May 1 in Columbia.

• The board recognized Pine Tree Hill Elementary student Trent Stokes for winning a national handwriting award.