Columbia County school officials approved the purchase of $15 million in bonds for school construction at a school board meeting this past week.
Voters approved up to $30 million in bond purchases in a March referendum.
By purchasing the bonds now, the school system locked in a 3.3 percent net yield on the bond, which will be repaid with 1-cent sales tax funds, said Larry Knox Jr., the managing director of Morgan Keegan and Co., which negotiated the bond purchase for the system.
Also at the meeting:
- Without taking any action, the board entertained giving up a fraction of an acre of the Greenbrier High School campus for the construction of a new road.
The road will intersect Washington Road at Old Washington Road, which will be realigned, and create a second entrance and exit to the Greenbrier schools complex.
"I feel this will be a benefit to us," Associate School Superintendent Charles Nagle told board members.
Concerned about the large number of vehicles that travel on Washington Road, board member Wayne Bridges wants to further discuss the plan.
"I think it's a great idea, but safety has to be No. 1," he said.
School officials said they will discuss the new road with county commissioners at a meeting on Tuesday.
- The board approved a more than $134 million budget for the 2005-06 school year, even though the projected revenues are about $132 million.
The system might receive an additional $1 million in revenue through an increase in the Columbia County property tax digest and midterm adjustments, which is additional state funding based on increases in pupil enrollment at the middle of the school year, not accounted for in the budget, School Superintendent Tommy Price said.
The budget shortfall will be covered with the system's $26 million reserve fund.
- Board members gave final approval to a policy that toughens the punishments for juvenile offenders in the school system and changed the name of the system's alternative school from Crossroads Academy to The Columbia County Board of Education Alternative School.
- Final approval also was given to a new dress code policy that allows for shirts to be untucked, but restricts "extreme or excessive" clothing and body piercings.
Price defined extreme or excessive clothing as apparel that causes a distraction to learning.
- School trustees approved a stricter school absence policy.
A truant now is defined as "any child who has more than five days of absences during the school calendar year," according to the new policy created by a special committee of school officials, social workers and law enforcement officials.
After seven absences, without proper notes from a parent or medical professional, a pupil will be referred by the school to police. The parent or pupil might be fined, or even incarcerated, for each day missed.
After 10 absences, regardless of the reasons for the absences, a student might be referred to police for investigation.
"This policy is a good starting point," said Doug Flanagan, a Juvenile Court judge for Columbia County and chairman of the committee which created the new policy. "We have a lot more truancy than people want to admit."
- Price released the results of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test to the board.
Designed to prevent social promotion, third-graders must pass the reading portion of the CRCT to advance to fourth grade. For the first time this year, fifth-graders must have passed both the reading and math portions of the exam to make it to sixth grade.
Of the third-graders, 19 regular-education pupils and 26 special-education pupils failed the test. Eleven of the special-education pupils who failed were not required to pass and might still be promoted.
For the fifth-grade reading portion of the CRCT, 61 pupils failed, but that includes 37 special-education pupils, 18 of whom did not require the test.
In the math portion of the CRCT for fifth-graders, 116 pupils failed, but 57 were special education with 22 of them not having to pass the test for promotion.
Pupils who failed the exam will have a chance to take a two-week remedial course beginning May 31 and then retake the test in June.
- The board filled some administrative vacancies at area schools.
Dr. Majorie Hamilton will replace Dr. Sandra Carraway as principal of Greenbrier High School. Hamilton has been serving as an assistant at the school. Carraway recently accepted a position as assistant superintendent in the system's main office.
Former Columbia County Schools teacher Bessie Rogers returns as an assistant principal at Bel Air Elementary School.
Melanie Sprouse, an educator in Greenville, S.C., will take over as assistant principal at Lakeside High School for Dr. Rose Carraway, who will be the system's new director of high school student learning.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.