D45 updates policies, rescinds termination

Barnwell District 45 can now accept tax-deductible contributions online.
During the school board's Dec. 18 meeting, Superintendent Jay Grissom announced a digital "button" will be placed on the district's website, barnwell45.org. The Donate Now service is made available through South Carolina Future Minds (SCFM), a non-profit organization that supports the state's public schools.
The button directs visitors to SCFM's website where contributions of any amount can be made, though SCFM charges a 6 percent fee to cover the credit card transaction fees and administrative costs. "The remainder of the money collected is paid directly to schools on a quarterly basis. This provides a pathway, other than typical fundraisers, for people to contribute," according to a press release about the service.
In other business, the board rescinded a previous motion to terminate a teacher.
The unidentified annual contract teacher's employment was terminated by the board Nov. 20, however, they voted unanimously to rescind that motion Dec. 18. Superintendent Jay Grissom said the teacher resigned after the November meeting.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the district said information related to this case is exempt from disclosure. "There are no details or any public documents regarding the initial termination recommendation," according to a letter from the district.
State law, which the board cited in their November motion, outlines how districts can terminate teachers regardless of their performance or offer them one of three levels of employment contracts when their contracts are up. An annual contract teacher is higher than an induction level teacher but has not earned the continuing contract level. The induction level is up to three years while the annual contract level is no more than four years, according to the law.
In other news:
-Two more applications for high school diplomas have been received and approved. A change in state law this year eliminated HSAP (high school exit exam) and allowed past students who failed to earn a diploma solely due to not passing HSAP to petition their school board for one.
-Three student transfer requests were approved, two to Williston and one to Aiken.
-The second reading of three policy updates were approved, all of which are due to changes in state law. One about graduation requirements was updated to reflect the discontinuation of the HSAP (high school exit exam). A change in the staff compensation policy would allow districts to negotiate salaries of non-TERI retired teachers. The major change in the policy on professional staff contracts and compensation allows districts to decide the date when they'll extend contracts to teachers.
-The board also held the first reading of three other policy revisions, though no action was taken since it was the first reading. Grissom said these were also due to changes in state law. Revised policies on notification of board meetings and health education were mostly minor wording or format changes.
Policy BEDB about agendas for meetings contains the most changes. While the current policy allows members of the public to suggest items to be considered on the agenda, the new one says only board members and employees can suggest items. The new policy expands guidelines for what items will be considered to be placed on an agenda and defines parameters for changing the agenda.