D45 approves $1 million bond

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Staff Writer

Two schools are getting new roofs after the Barnwell District 45 School Board gave their unanimous approval last week to issue and sell a general obligation bond of up to $1 million.
Approximately 75 percent of the bond will pay for new roofs at Guinyard-Butler Middle and Barnwell High schools, though the district won't know exact figures until they receive bids. Remaining funds will go toward air conditioning units, said Shirley Kitchings, the district's chief financial officer.
By law, districts can incur general obligation debt of up to 8 percent of the assessed value of all taxable property in the district. District 45 can incur up to $2,415,858 of general obligation debt, which is 8 percent of their assessed value of $30,198,219, according to the resolution approved by the board March 27.
The district already has $1,367,000 of debt for three previous bonds, said Kitchings, but adding the new $1 million bond still leaves them within their 8 percent limit.
Kitchings said many districts take on general obligation debt as a way to pay for capital improvements they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. This type of debt is also healthy for districts because "you want to keep your debt service millage constant or even," she said. If they don't, then the millage rate - and therefore residents' taxes - would go up.
During the recognition portion of the meeting, Superintendent Jay Grissom presented the Superintendent's Apple Award to three employees.
Linda Zionkowski, the director of federal programs, was recognized for ensuring the district complies with the requirements for programs like Title 1, which has more than 500 requirements. Recent audits of Title 1 and Title 2 commended Zionkowski, Grissom said.
Barnwell High School teacher Jeff Miller received the award for "showing kids how we should help our fellow man," said Grissom. Miller raised more than $1,100 for muscular dystrophy by selling paper shamrocks, which line the wall outside his classroom door.
The third recipient was Kristina Etheredge, a Barnwell Elementary teacher. Grissom commended her for receiving three grants through Donors Choose, an online charity where people can donate to teachers' projects, plus an SRS grant. Etheredge is also involved in the school's new running club and helps with their Relay for Life team.
In other news:
Four new employees were introduced: Frank Lucas, a food service operator at Barnwell Primary; Teresa Sanders, a teacher assistant at BPS; Lucille Smalls, an assistant at Barnwell Elementary; and Sarah Lehman, who will be a biology teacher at the high school next year.
Michael Shumaker, director of the City of Barnwell's Parks and Recreation Department, thanked the district for supporting their programs, including allowing the use of school facilities. "Without the support of the school district, we would not be successful," said Shumaker of programs like the Daddy/Daughter Dance, youth basketball and Mighty Mites.
Board member Abraham Sexton said the board is happy to support the department, and therefore the students. "That's what it's really about," said Sexton.