According to Superintendent Phyllis Schwarting, it appears that Bamberg School District 1 will not receive any money from the $37.5 million budget for consolidation.
The S.C. Department of Education is still reviewing the applications they have sent in, she said at the school board’s September meeting.
Citizen Ken Ahlin asked Schwarting about the money.
“Is the $37.5 million dead in the water for the consolidation, or will there be any more money? I mean, that’s a big blow right there,” Ahlin said.
“I don’t think that the money is out there to help us consolidate appropriately,” Schwarting said. “I don’t know. I don’t anticipate it. In my opinion, without an infusion of the money, I don’t know we would move forward.”
Schwarting answered another question from Ahlin about who would decide on whether or not the two districts consolidate.
“In the first paragraph and the last sentence of the proposal we sent in, if we’re not given the money to carry that out, that we would not be able to move forward,” she said. “What that means in the final results, I don’t know. We’re waiting daily for any kind of information, and we have not yet received any other than we won’t receive even a penny of the $37.5 (million).”
Also at the meeting, representatives from Shealy Electric gave a presentation regarding changing the district’s current fluorescent lighting system to LED.
Schwarting said, “This is something we have talked about in the district. We actually put it in one of our plans that we presented to the state department, which I don’t think will be funded.”
It was noted during the presentation that Shealy Electrical won the state contract in 2018 and secured it for five years. With having the state contract, schools can procure LED lamps and fixtures at a discounted market basket price without going through the bidding process.
In the school reports, Mrs. Stacey Walter, principal of Richard Carroll Elementary School, said, “We had another awesome incentive trip this year for the children whose scores meets or exceeds in state testing. We took around 200 fourth, fifth and sixth graders to HiWire, and we were excited because we were able to include our SPED population and some of the self-contained students. It was a great time.”
Grandparents’ breakfast was held Friday, Sept. 6, and Monday, Sept. 9. Walter said that they had a great turnout on both days. The RCES after-school program started Thursday, September 12. They are serving grades 3-6, with approximately 75 students with RCES teachers taking part.
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Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Boykin and Mrs. Walter are finishing up testing kindergarteners and first graders. The State Department of Education is now requiring each district to screen every kindergartener and first grader using one of their designated universal screening tool three times a year. The screening process is part of the Read to Succeed legislation, and also a result of a Dyslexia law.
Grades K-6 are utilizing Google Classroom with parents. “We will be holding a few ‘Morning with Parents’ this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Parents will come into classrooms for a brief overview of how they can keep up with their child’s work, communicate with the teacher, and stay abreast with what’s going on with school and upcoming events through newsletters posted online and via our school website,” Walter said.
RCES’ annual canned food drive started this week. Students are bringing in their cans and perishable food items for the Cheese and Cracker Box. Walter said, “Our outside gardeners finished planting brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery and radish seeds. They water them daily and will learn how to ‘thin’ the radishes next week.
Principal Denise Miller of Bamberg-Ehrhardt Middle School said the school sustained no damage from Hurricane Dorian. Celebrations include a $4,000 Art Innovation Grant, a $3,500 Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant for the library, and a $300 Opportunity Grant for the library as well. The Bamberg County Health Coalition donated a raised bed, soil, garden cart, power tools, plants, compost bins, soaker hoses and shovels.
Miller said, “Someone maliciously ran over the brand-new traffic cone directing traffic. The individual ran over it, backed over it, and then ran back over it again. We know who did this, and charges are being pressed. Also, there are some high schoolers jumping the fence at night between the hours 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and smoking pot on the school premises.”
Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Principal Denny Ulmer said senior Alex Ahlin was recently recognized by both the city and county of Bamberg in their respective meetings for his skeet shooting accomplishments. Alex is currently in Kerrville, Texas, competing in the first stage of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for shotgun.
College Application Day will take place on Thursday, September 19. Several local college representatives will be on hand to help seniors apply to their college of choice. The homecoming football game will be held Sept. 27. The community homecoming parade will start at 6 p.m. at the middle school and end at the football field parking lot.
In other business:
• Vice Chair Dianne Bamberg was elected the delegate with board member Kim Berry selected as the alternate for the 2019 South Carolina School Boards Association Delegate Assembly in Charleston.
• Schwarting went over details, requirements and timelines to nominate someone for teacher of the year.
• The board approved a request for an overnight trip for the B-E Dancers for the weekend of Oct. 11 for training in Orlando, Florida, with the absence occurring on the 11th for travel not to be counted against them.
• Updated policies up for a second reading were Policy EEAE – Bus Safety Programs; Policy IHBF – Homebound Instruction; Policy KLGA – School Resource Officers; and Policy IKA-R – Grading Assessment Systems. Policies EEAE, IHBF and KLGA passed second reading. However, second reading of Policy IKA-R was tabled due to a major concern of board members.
• In the monthly financial report, Devon Fur stated that their audit began that day on Sept. 9. Also, there are a few issues with technology and some air conditioners.