D-45 board, legislator discuss funding, safety
S.C. Rep. Lonnie Hosey and the Barnwell District 45 School Board discussed a variety of education issues, including funding and school safety, Jan. 24.
While the new legislative session is just getting underway, Hosey, who represents most of Barnwell County, said they are already starting the budget process for next year, which includes public school funding. Some of that funding has been cut in recent years, such as the base student cost - a set amount given to districts for each student.
The base student cost for the current school year is $2,012 - an increase from the year before, but still significantly less than it was several years ago. "We're expecting you to do a lot of things with a budget you didn't have," Hosey said. "You have been doing a wonderful job."
The Bureau of Economic Advisors has recommended raising that base cost to $2,771. While Hosey hopes to increase, or at least maintain current funding, he told the board the state doesn't have the means to raise it that much this year.
Money also plays a factor in school safety.
In response to board member Rhett Richardson's question about a proposal in the S.C. Senate concerning school resource officers in every school, Hosey said he's not sure how to fund it. "I do believe we must do something," said Hosey. "The fiscal impact must be studied."
School safety is "a major concern of this school board," said board member Valenda Black.
Regardless of the issue, Hosey said he needs residents to help keep him informed of the needs of the community. "It's not about Democrats or Republicans, it's about people," he said.
In other business:
- While the district is awaiting the final report for the state accreditation of Guinyard-Butler Middle School and the district office, Sapough said "it looks like it's going to be a positive review."
There are a couple areas the person doing the accreditation had questions about, but overall "was extremely pleased with what she saw going on in District 45," including the board's involvement and knowledge, said Sapough.
The People-Sentinel will have more details once the report is released.
- The board unanimously approved the second and final reading of Policy JJ, which establishes guidelines for charter and home school students to participate in extracurricular activities. Guidelines include being a resident of District 45, paying certain fees, and meeting "applicable academic, attendance and behavioral requirements," according to the policy.
- The board thanked everyone who gave them gifts in recognition of School Board Appreciation Month.
"It was like Christmas," said board member Teresa Spence.
Sapough said he appreciates the board, who he called the "strongest board" he's ever worked with or heard of. "They're focused on students by making decisions best for the school," said Sapough. "It can't get any better than that."
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