D19 board approves two makeup days

Two school make-up days have been designated by the District 19 School Board at their Oct. 9 regular meeting.

Board members Ethel Faust, Sharon McClary, and Karen Jowers voted to designate November 1 and March 23 as make-up dates for days missed due to recent hurricanes.

District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Johnson proposed the two dates which were unanimously approved by the three attending board members. Chairman Carroll Priester was absent due to the death of her husband.

Ethel Faust chaired the meeting and offered condolences to Priester and her family. Dr. Johnson said district staff was planning to attend the 3 p.m. funeral service on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

During discussion of finances for the district, the board voted on a resolution to add acting finance director LaPrecious Rivers to their bank’s list of authorized designees.

Rivers reported that no travel was used by board members in September and the Wal-Mart credit card had only been used for canteen and athletics purposes. “No purchases were made on the district side,” she said.

She and Dr. Johnson also reported that $900 was used to pay for a course for the curriculum instructor. “There was $900 in the superintendent’s budget for car rentals and I wasn’t going to need that,” said Dr. Johnson, “so we are using that money to pay for the course.”

They indicated that all other finances were normal to date and the board members were provided financial statements in the packets for review.

In his report to the board, Dr. Johnson said the district is preparing for accountability reviews. “Everyone needs to know how they are going to judge our schools,” said Johnson. “Our report card in November will not have a letter grade. This will be our first year towards our rating.”

He said this year’s review will be compared with the 2018 review for achievements.

“This takes us beyond the basics,” said Johnson. “We have to work at a high rigor.”

He said a lot of development of teachers is designed to increase their rigor in the classroom. “We are focusing on how we can get our kids engaged all day, every day,” said Johnson. “We will continue to share our data so you can see where we are.”

Johnson said Federal Programs David Corder will lead the preparation for AdvancED certification.

“I’ve given you a working calendar of what we want to do to get our board ready,” said Dr. Johnson.

He said they may need to film the board meetings so the video can be posted to the district’s website.

Johnson said the board is “doing a good job” and its members “are engaged – you are asking questions.”

“I don’t think we are going to have any problems,” said Johnson. “The main thing they look at is the relationship between the board and the superintendent – does the board micromanage or set policy and discussion? I don’t think I am micromanaged. They will see that we do discuss things. We don’t need to put on a show – we just need to continue doing what we are doing.”

He said the reviewers “will set three improvement priorities - and they will find something - but we want to make it hard for them.”

Board member Sharon McClary said, “I feel very comfortable being on this board and having Dr. Johnson in charge. Karen Jowers noted, “I second that!”

Dr. Johnson also reported that “Project 1” funding had been used for security systems and new desks in every classroom. He said tile is being replaced in some places of Macedonia Elementary School, particularly in the conference room and office. “Any money left over will go to the painting project,” said Johnson.

He said he is hoping to replace lighting at Macedonia Elementary in the second project. “That’s about a $180,000 project,” he said.

Johnson asked the board to give credit to the district’s staff.. “I have a really great staff,” he said. “These people give me their ideas and input. They help me arrive at a lot of decisions. I think we have a good team. I want to thank them for what they are doing.”

Technology director Daphne Wood reported, “Everything is working well” in the district.

She said she was disappointed that online readiness funding was not available again this year.

Wood said there are projects that are still being implemented in the district but most of them are administrative rather than student-related.

“We are also getting ready for quarterly data collection,” she said.

In other business the board:

• Approved second and final reading of updates to five policies including food allergies and special dietary needs, parent rights and responsibilities, health education, social studies education and state program assessments.

• Approved the use of school facilities by the Town of Blackville for recreation use. The town had requested use of the Blackville-Hilda High School football field and the Macedonia Elementary School gymnasium.

• Approved the hiring of Stanley Richie as School Nurse.

• Did not have to vote on a student transfer request as Dr. Johnson said the student had officially withdrawn from the district and no action was needed on the matter.

• Designated Ethel Faust as the board’s voting delegate to the South Carolina School Board Association meeting. Karen Jowers was designated as the alternate.