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OCSD3 Superintendent Dr. Jesulon Gibbs-Brown, right, presents former trustee Betty Shuler with a plaque recognizing her contributions to the district. Shuler was also recognized for achieving the highest level of boardsmanship through South Carolina School Boards Association training before she retired from the board. Looking on are trustees Vernell Goodwin, second from left, and Dennis White.

HOLLY HILL - The superintendent of Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 told trustees at their January meeting that she has already begun preliminary work to get ready for the consolidation of the county's three school districts into a single district.  

Superintendent Dr. Jesulon Gibbs-Brown addressed the state legislature’s vote to override Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto of the bill consolidating the districts and provided each board member with a copy of the final bill. She said a transition delegation would begin meeting soon to prepare for the change. All public schools in Orangeburg County are scheduled to begin operating as a single school district on July 1, 2019.

Also during the meeting, Associate Superintendent Gerald Wright reported the ACT 155 exit exam will make it possible for additional students who previously fell short of the requirements for graduation to get their high school diplomas after meeting applicable requirements. Board members voted to approve measures to encourage students in the district to take advantage of the opportunity.

Trustees also received an update on district personnel’s participation in a conference and recruiting fair held in conjunction with the South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators.

Gibbs-Brown thanked Dr. Liana Calloway, OCSD3 director of special services, for encouraging the district to get involved with the organization last year. Calloway was elected president of the alliance at the latest meeting, where district staff members took advantage of training, networking and recruiting opportunities, she said.

In other business, the superintendent discussed the impact the recent winter weather had on the district. She thanked all personnel who braved the snow, ice and sub-freezing weather to monitor road conditions and the status of district facilities during the height of the storm. She also expressed her appreciation to Orangeburg County Emergency Services for providing timely updates on the weather.

In addition, Gibbs-Brown acknowledged Board Appreciation Month.

“Each year, this is the month that the South Carolina School Board Association designates as an opportunity for school districts to recognize and celebrate their board members. We are always excited as a district to do that," she said. "We are so proud and happy for our board members, those who serve with us, give so much of their time on a monthly basis, (and are) just there with us in the community supporting us and advocating for us.”

She recognized each of the sitting board members in attendance and the two board members who retired at the end of 2017, Betty Shuler and Beatrice Swett. Each of the current and former board members received a gift card as a token of appreciation for their contributions to the district.

Shuler was honored at the meeting for achieving the highest level of boardsmanship offered by the SCSBA before she retired from the board.

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In addition, district officials reported the following during the meeting:

  • Revenues for December 2017 totaled $1,317,842.93 and total expenditures were $3,081,995.36. The district received its tax revenues for December, but the funds did not arrive until January. Those revenues will be recorded in the statement for January 2018.
  • The district sent letters of intent to all employees on Jan. 19 as part of its effort to determine how many vacancies will need to be filled prior to the 2018-19 school year.
  • Staff completed several projects during the winter holiday break, including electrical work at Holly Hill-Roberts Middle School, some painting, replacing outdated gym lights with LED lights and updating bathroom facilities.
  • OCSD3 is unlikely to get new buses in the next round of vehicle purchases. The next buses to be purchased by the state will replace flat-faced, rear engine models. OCSD3 has already phased out those models.
  • GPS systems are being installed on buses as part of a pilot program. The system will enable OCSD3 to better track the movement of its buses. Bus drivers will receive on-site training on the systems in February.
  • The district received approval to add bandwidth for its computer systems. 

In other business, the board approved a field trip for Lake Marion High School band students to attend a clinic at the University of South Carolina and a field trip to Charlotte for middle school students in the mentoring group. Each field trip will require participants to miss one day of school.

The OCSD3 Board of Trustees will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

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