stack of books

The Orangeburg County School Board plans to borrow up to $15 million to help the district operate until property tax revenues are available.

The amount it actually borrows will probably be closer to $13 million, district financial adviser Bob Damron told trustees last week.

"This could change a little bit based on how much cash fund balance the district begins with based on how much comes in from Districts 3, 4, 5. There is a little bit of uncertainty,” he said.

The board unanimously approved using a tax anticipation notice to borrow no more than $15 million. A TAN is used by some school districts use to cover costs until taxes come in between the months of November through February.

Following the meeting, Damron explained school districts receive money each month from the state and federal governments but a “big chunk” comes from the county taxpayers.

"This is the reason school districts need a strong fund balance because the stronger their general fund balance is, the less likely they will have to issue a tax anticipation notice," he said.

The district will borrow the money as part of a larger pool of districts. Damron said the interest rate will probably be between 1 and 1-1/2 percent.

When the districts are not using the money, it will be invested in the state treasury.

"The pool is currently yielding over what the borrowing rate is going to be," Damron said. "There won't really be much cost to the district for operations until they actually draw the money down."

In other matters, after a two-hour closed session, trustees voted 6-3 to approve hiring for the district's curriculum and instruction department.

Hires include:

• Director of federal programs: Janice Rivers. Rivers has served as the director of Title 1/Federal Programs for Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3.

• Coordinator of instructional technology: Amanda Looper. Looper has served as the instructional technology specialist for Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4.

• Coordinator of social, emotional and behavioral specialist and hearing officers: Dr. Tasha Louis-Nance. Louis-Nance has served as the executive director of Educators Academy in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5.

• Coordinator of related arts: Deedra Wright. Wright has served as the band director at OCSD5.

• Coordinator of alternative placements: Denise Grimes. Grimes has served as an assistant principal with Branchville High School.

• Coordinator of College and Career Readiness: Dr. Johnny Murdaugh. Murdaugh has served as the OCSD5 Technology Center director. He has also served as the director of Career and Technology Education in Richland School District One.

• Coordinator of Special Services: Dr. Marguerite Bryant. Bryant has served as a program specialist at the OCSD5's Office of Special Education programs.

• Compliance coordinator: Dr. Tawana Nash. Nash has served as the executive director of special education for OCSD5.

• Coordinator of English to speakers of other languages and gifted and talented: Yvonne Mitchell. Mitchell has served as the ESOL coordinator/teacher for OCSD 5.

• Mental Health Services: Joyce Felder. Felder has served as a counselor for Edisto High School and has worked at the Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center.

• Social worker: Yvette Jeffries. Jeffries has served as a social worker at the Orangeburg County Health Department.

Other hires were made in the areas of instructional technology, special education and parent engagement facilitators.

Chief of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Lana Williams gave an overview of the new district's curriculum and instruction department, noting it has set 30-day, 60-day and 90-day goals to prepare for the new school year.

"We want to make sure everyone is operating from common knowledge and common language across the county," Williams said. "When we say something from the curriculum and instruction department, we want everyone to know what we are talking about and not their own individual interpretations based on what may have occurred in one of the former districts."

"Teachers are concerned they are going to have do a lot of changing," Williams said. "We want to alleviate any misconceptions that are out there. We are going to build a strong foundation before we start doing a whole lot of other things. We are in the last hour."

"If teachers don't have buy-in and a face on what is going to affect them, they will not participate very freely in the process," Williams said.

In other business:

• Trustees unanimously approved second reading for the district's policy related to personnel matters. The policy can be viewed on the website of each of the existing districts under the consolidation tab.

• Trustees selected Columbia-based Halligan, Mahoney and Williams as the district's attorney.

• Trustees unanimously approved the release of students who requested to attend school in another district.

• The next school board meeting will be held Tuesday, June 25 at Nix Elementary School at 770 Stilton Road in Orangeburg.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.


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