The Fairfield County School board met on Tuesday night for a relatively light agenda.
Included in the meeting were personnel matters of dual capacity employees, renewal of district contracts, student after school programs, and a proposed community health center.
Before the heart of the meeting got underway a motion was made to amend the agenda.
Ken Childs, the school district attorney advised the board of a recent court ruling in a Saluda case that states boards could not revise an agenda once a meeting was underway.
He said that decision by a court of appeals may be overturned but until it is that it is the law. He provided copies of that case to board members following their time in executive session.
The district’s GLEAMS contract was renewed whereby the program does a program for 3- and 4-year-olds at Fairfield Elementary.
The contract deals with the leasing of one office space and two classrooms and represents a 5 percent annual increase in cost.
School board member Henry Miller asked if attorneys reviewed the agreement but was told that was not necessary as the attorneys had reviewed it in October 2011 and the document had not changed since then.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Homework Centers sponsored by SCANA also were discussed.
The center would be held at Kelly Miller Elementary for second through fifth grades. It would begin on or before Oct. 10 and meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The only requirement was for the district to provide suitable classroom space. The program would serve students who scored met or exemplary on the Palmetto Achievement State Standars (PASS) test.
Superintendent J.R. Green elaborated on the system after questions from board member Annie McDaniel.
He said that a school program currently provides services for students who have not achieved met or exemplary scores on PASS.
“Currently provided services are to students who have not scored at met standards level. (But) we don’t want to neglect students just because they scored well on PASS,” Green said. “We are attempting to provide services to everyone. Whether they will use it or not remains to be seen.”
It is likely that the Chameleon after school program that provided tutoring will not be conducted at Kelly Miller in the fall, however.
Certified resignations and administrator resignations all were approved unanimously by the board.
The board held first reading of a revised attendance and holiday policy that would place all employees on the same system with the same number of days and the same rights across the board.
Discussion was held about the carry over of 45 holiday days by employees but that if they resigned employees would only be reimbursed for 20 days.
Green said that policy was not uniform across the state and that in Chesterfield County 45 days were reimbursed. If only 20 days were reimbursed that could open up the door to someone just not showing up for work for 25 days prior to those 20.
T.J. Meggett, director of human resource services, said the policy contained the provision to allow a supervisor to disapprove of the compensation if abuse of the policy would put the district in such a position. First reading passed on the policy.
The school district’s physical therapy contract was approved unanimously for 2012-13.
Green reported that there has been a proposed community health center.
The Cooperative Health Centers is pursuing a human resources and administration construction grant for a community based health center in proximity to a school. The center would provide a nurse practitioner in the school until noon each day.
Green agreed to write a letter of support for these efforts which the Cooperative Health Centers had requested.
Mayor Gregory Ginyard of Jenkinsville expressed a desire to have the board support this issue. The effort would completely replace the health center currently in the area according to Ginyard.
In other business, Green said that the transportation department advised the district only have full time bus drivers rather than have drivers who hold other positions in the school. Doing so would save the district money because dual purpose drivers often earn overtime pay.
Board members Marchella Pauling and Bobby Cunningham both felt the staff needed a chance to talk with the superintendent first before the board made a decision. McDaniel wanted to know why bus drivers were being singled out.
Green said that he was not familiar with other dual capacity employees that performed duties which resulted in overtime.
McDaniel said it was not right to give the employees raises and then to take away their means to supplement their income by cutting back on the jobs they could work.
“We need to avoid the patter of approving something today and tomorrow having to revisit it,” McDaniel said.
Henry Miller said he had heard concerns from current bus drivers on the matter and also recommended the issue be studied further. Motion to do so passed unanimously.
McDaniel requested that side packet information be re-examined including the scoring sheet for architectural firms for the district.
After some discussion members agreed to write out their top four choices and sign the sheets so that those choices could be recorded for the record.
The salary scale schedule was included in the side packet for informative purposes only as it already had been voted upon. The board then went into executive session.
After executive session the members gave the directive for Green to schedule presentations for the architectural firm for building of new comprehensive high school.
Dr. Janet Mason gave a special welcome to the new superintendent and hoped to get the chance to stand in the same position a year from now and make reference to how far the district has come in that time period.
She also pointed out the power of prayer and that many people were praying for his success.
“You have a golden opportunity with a cooperative board, an effective administration and effective district office staff to make dreams possible,” Mason said.
She also took the opportunity to request the board reconsider adding a high school student to the board, who would have a voice but not vote.
No action was taken on that comment, however.
During public comments time, Toni Crosby requested that board members discuss the issue of dual bus driver policy changes at a later meeting once they had time to get more input from employees.