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ST. MATTHEWS -- The Calhoun County School Board of Trustees heard a presentation about an effort to stem the loss of teachers statewide at a recent council meeting.

Representatives of the University of South Carolina College of Education addressed trustees, including Dr. Jon Pederson, dean of the college, and Dr. Tony Hodges. Pederson said 6,500 teachers left the classroom -- with 2,400 leaving permanently -- in the last five years.

The state's teacher colleges only produce 1,700-1,800 graduates annually, and the loss of those leaving the classroom is 30 percent within three to five years, Pederson said. USC has started a three-year coaching and mentoring program for new teachers who have been in the classroom in the last 3 years, at no cost to them, he said.

At the end of the presentation, board chairman Gary Porth said he was “excited” about the effort.

In other business:

• The finance report noted that 20 percent of school taxes had been collected, 34 percent expended, and 51 percent encumbered. The report was unanimously accepted.

• The board amended Policy JB which covers Equal Education Opportunity/Discrimination by title only.

• Superintendent Dr. Steve Wilson presented the Board of Trustees meeting schedule for 2019. The board meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month.

• Facilities Manager George Kiernan gave the facilities report, noting that the Calhoun County High School track is receiving a new rubberized coating, and improvements are being made at the softball field.

• The board went into executive session to discuss a legal matter, personnel recommendations and resignations, as well as the superintendent's evaluation. No action was taken when the trustees returned to open session.

Contact the writer: 803-874-3276.

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