Football ticket prices to rise in Williston, teacher lunch price increase considered

The Williston District 29 School Board approved an increase in football game ticket prices.

Williston-Elko High School Athletic Director Derek Youngblood asked for the $1 increase after attending a region meeting where he learned other area schools either currently charge $7 or will soon go to $7. WEHS previously charged $6, but the increase makes tickets $7. Student prices will remain at $5.

The extra money will benefit the athletic program by funding equipment like helmets and shoulder pads, said Youngblood, who also announced the booster club is cutting seating costs from $30 to $20.

While the increase was unanimously approved, the board did not take any action on another rate increase request.

After reporting on a “very good summer” where 5,945 meals were served to local children through the district’s summer feeding program, Eugenia Johnson, the district’s food services coordinator, asked the board to consider increasing the cost of adult lunches to $4. That would be an increase of twenty-five cents.

“It would help cover the cost of that plate,” said Director of Finance Rose Anderson.

The increase would be for adults only since implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) this school year now provides free meals to all students, regardless of their family’s income. Johnson believes the CEP will benefit the district and has already seen an increase in the number of students eating school-provided meals.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reimburses the district up to 89 percent of a student’s meal through CEP. Johnson said the increase in adult prices would help cover some of the 11 percent not covered. The district also offers special sales, such as chicken wings every Friday, which students can purchase as items that are not part of the regular meal.

The board asked Johnson to provide more information on the potential increase at a future meeting. No action was taken.

Maintenance

Five high school students worked in the district over the summer as part of the Summer Jump Program through S.C. Works Workforce Innovative and Opportunity Act. The program came at no cost to the district.

The students performed a variety of tasks, such as clerical, maintenance and food service. They also helped with the summer reading program.

Maintenance Director Ronnie Neville said the students who worked with him were a “great bunch of kids” who worked hard and learned a lot.

Neville said he and his crew were busy the entire summer with regular maintenance and some capital improvement projects. He is especially excited about the middle/high school gym, which received new electric bleachers to replace ones that have been there since the 1960s. A new coat of paint and refinished floors also improved the overall look.

Other summer projects included a new roof at the middle school, tiling the teacher’s lounge, painting the canteen and installing 15 air conditioning units at Kelly Edwards Elementary. Neville said the thermostats for the new units can be controlled by an app on his phone, so he can adjust temperatures without having to go to the school. He said they plan to use this model for all future replacement projects.

The district is using new cleaning chemicals that are safer and more environmentally friendly. He said custodians have been trained.

Staffing

Human Resources Coordinator Stephanie Alford said all vacancies for the school year have been filled, including three classified positions and 16 certified positions. She said they received 331 applications.

Later in the meeting, the board approved the superintendent’s monthly personnel recommendations. It includes the following new hires: Jodilyn Baker as a middle school math teacher, Amanda Carter as a high school English teacher, John Felton as a middle school science teacher, Elaine Gaumer as the middle/high school media specialist, Maeshell Gordon as a high school special education teacher, Vanessa Hooper as a first grade teacher, Theresa Shumaker as a special education teacher at the elementary school, Silvia Stone as a psychologist, Kristina Flanagan as the district’s Title 1 Coordinator/Parent Facilitator, Kathryn Bryant as a cafeteria worker at the elementary school, Kevin Collins as a network technician, and Kimberly Thomas as attendance clerk at the middle school. The board also approved the resignations of middle school math teacher Tonja Rivers and middle school attendance clerk/secretary Talina Jones. Amanda Wootten was also listed as having a change in status as she is the new reading interventionist at the elementary school.

Curriculum

The district has implemented the curriculum management system Rubicon Atlas this school year in core classes for fourth through twelfth grades.

“It breaks the standards down to know, understand and do,” said Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Debra McCord.

She said the program allows teachers to “chunk” the standards into lessons over a certain period of time and then they assess how well students comprehended the material. Teachers provide either remediation for students who need more help or enrichment for those who comprehended what was taught.

Teachers attended one of three summer planning days to work with fellow teachers in their departments to discuss the best ways to break up the curriculum.

McCord also updated the board on the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Accountability guidelines that will replace No Child Left Behind in the 2018-2019 school year. The goal is to have 90 percent of students graduate in four years being college, career and citizenship ready by 2035, but she said she will provide specifics once everything is finalized by the state.

In other news:

-During the month of July, the district had $324,538.76 in revenue and $240,618.87 in expenditures, said Anderson.

-The district recognized Williston First Baptist Church for its partnership with Kelly Edwards Elementary School by presenting Rev. Dr. Stephen Burnette with a certificate. The church recently received the Civic Organization Volunteer Award from the S.C. Department of Education.

-Following a closed session, the board approved the release of three students and also the transfer of eight students to attend District 29 pending their release from other districts.