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BAMBERG - Bamberg School District 1 is losing a significant amount of money because of students who enroll but live outside of the district.

Superintendent Phyllis Schwarting reported at the February Board of Trustees meeting that the school system is not getting any tax money or tuition from many of those students. The district cannot afford the loss and is taking steps to deal with the problem, Schwarting said. Beginning this fall, each school will hold registration, and parents or guardians will be required to provide proof of residence, she said.

Everyone will have to do this, Schwarting noted.

“If you belong to us, we want to educate you. If you don’t belong to us, we’ll do our best to accommodate you, but you’ll have to pay the tuition,” she said.

This includes children who live with their grandparents, the superintendent said, adding that they must pay the tuition unless the parents have given up their legal rights to the children.

The tuition cost per year is $2,505.

Students in Bamberg 1 may soon have the opportunity to participate in a new agricultural program. Schwarting reported that a survey in the high school had shown much interest such a program. A vacant position in another, non-instructional area will allow funding for the program, she said.

The district is advertising for someone to serve as instructor, Schwarting said.

Farming is a staple in the district and she foresees that Bamberg 1 will get a lot of support for the program, the superintendent said.

Trustees also discussed the possibility of holding graduation outdoors this year to allow students room to invite more family and friends.

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Board members, however, cited the humidity and heat as reasons to hold the ceremony inside. Other concerns were crowd control and the possibility of rainy weather.

Principal Dennis Ulmer said most students preferred having graduation outside, but added that the graduation committee wanted it inside.

The trustees decided to allow students and the graduation committee to present their wishes to the board at the next meeting.

Currently, each graduate gets 10 tickets for graduation.

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In other business, the board approved a general obligation bond not to exceed $525,000. This is an action the board takes annually to fund various maintenance issues.

Schwarting reported issuing the general obligation bond leaves funds free to spend in the classroom. The money is always repaid in a timely manner and does not raise millage, she said.

The superintendent announced that Claflin University will provide five scholarships for students to attend a summer arts program in June. The recipients have to have the recommendation of their art teachers and permission to attend.

Students who do not win a scholarship may attend by paying the fee.

Also during the meeting, the board:

  • Learned that Cole Davis, a student at Richard Carroll Elementary School, has been accepted into the Davison Institute Young Scholar’s Program. This is an online program that will supplement his regular school work, Principal Stacy Walter said. This is a very elite program and a great honor that took months of work and recommendations, etc., to quality, she said.
  • Learned that the State Department of Education has awarded $10,000 for new reading materials for classrooms at Richard Carroll Elementary School.
  • Were advised that first-grade teacher Allie Ness received a $1,000 grant from the Tri-County Foundation for her project “Guided Reading Books.”
  • Principal Denise Miller reported the middle school held a kindness challenge Jan. 29-Feb. 2 on preventing bullying. Students had a checklist of kind acts, which they turned in for a drawing for an MP3 player.
  • Recognized the girl’s basketball team for an undefeated season.
  • Recognized the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School wrestling team for winning the Class 2A State Championship. In addition, all 14 wrestlers who competed in the Class 2A-1A Lower State Championships qualify for the individual state meet. This is the first time all the wrestlers have qualified, Ulmer said. The wrestling team will be honored at the State House on March 21 by Rep. Justin Bamberg.

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Contact the writer: dlinderaltman@gmail.com.

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